The world of scientific research is supported by a vast volunteer network. Yes, scientists get paid to research their subject but in order to let the wider community know about their results, they have to publish it. To filter out the good papers from the bad or mediocre, working scientists volunteer to review papers submitted for publication. Each ‘reviewing’ scientist is anonymous to the authors of the paper, though the authors are not (yet?) anonymous to the reviewers.
At its best, the scientists reviewing the paper help the authors of the submitted manuscript to refine their papers, suggesting thoughts, other experiments or methods of phrasing that may better capture what the authors had intended. The review process is not just essential for filtering the good from the bad, it is extremely helpful for working scientists to have the input of someone, not involved with their research, commenting on it and trying to improve it. Although it is far from perfect, the review process is indispensable.
Which brings me onto Bean thinking. As a working scientist, I have got very used to the benefits that ‘peer’ review can bring. Therefore, over the past month, I asked 8 physicists and 8 non-physicists to review Bean thinking. These sixteen people were asked to critically read Bean thinking and let me know what they think. Unlike the scientific review process, it wasn’t anonymous, I knew who they were. But I also chose them because I respected each of their opinions and thought that each of these sixteen people would truly tell me what they thought. In this way, I hoped that Bean thinking could be refined to make it more engaging and entertaining while remaining scientifically rigorous. These sixteen got nothing tangible in return for their help which is why they are getting a mention on this page.
You know who you are, I know who you are. I am very grateful to all of you who took the time to read over and comment on Bean thinking. I have tried to take on board as many of your comments as possible (note the number of new photos on the pages!). Obviously, there are some comments that I haven’t been able to incorporate and any errors in the science (of which I hope there aren’t many) remain mine. Nonetheless, I am very grateful to you sixteen (and a few others who came in along the way). I hope you continue to visit Bean thinking, let me know what you think and join the discussion. And to all visitors, please leave any thoughts about the new look Bean thinking including any ideas for experiments that could be included in “Coffee cup science” in the comments section below.