Feeds

MS Word causes academic dust-up

Researchers RTFM, discover back-stabbers

Security for virtualized datacentres

Microsoft Word is causing problems in the catty world of peer reviewing, which ensures research is properly carried out, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Academics are wising up to a relatively inconspicuous feature that allows authors to find out which of their rivals have rubbished their work, raising the possibility of some serious bunfighting at research conferences.

Word automatically gives every document an author tag based on information pulled from the computer when the file is saved. It remains in the document's preferences summary, so when journals return reviewed versions of articles, the details of everyone who amended it remain.

Because careers, funding, and long standing rivalries are at stake, publishers like to keep reviewers' identities anonymous. The promise of anonymity is also key to the reviewer making honest comments.

In the interest of objectivity, the reviewer is often not allowed to know who did the research.

Some publishing professionals have apparently been unaware of the author tag feature. One researcher reports a journal's editor being “horrified” when he alerted her after being contacted by the author of an article he'd reviewed.

Mur K Muchane, executive director of information technology services at Davidson College, said: “I would guess that the vast majority of folks just don't know that that's there.”

The publicising of this feature in the academic community is sure to see washed-up researchers reopening rejected articles to see who put them on the slippery slope to obscurity.

Microsoft says the next version of Office will come with a toolkit called Document Inspector which will help users strip out private data.

The Chronicle of Higher Education piece is here. ®

Bootnote

For an extreme example of when peer review goes bad, revisit the Hwang Woo-Suk saga, which got top journal Science in a whole world of trouble.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.