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Site: http://phys.org/biology-news/

The population of North Atlantic right whales has slowly crept up from about 300 in 1992 to about 500 in 2010. But a study that appeared this month in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science said the number of baby right whales born every year has declined by nearly 40 percent since 2010. Study author Scott Kraus, a scientist with the New England Aquarium in Boston who worked on the study, said the whales' population suffers even when they survive entanglements in fishing gear. He said data suggest those entanglements have long-term negative physical and reproductive effects on them. "They are carrying heavy gear around, and they can't move as fast or they can't feed as effectively," Kraus told The Associated Press in an interview. "And it looks like it affects their ability to reproduce because it means they can't put on enough fat to have a baby." Entanglements have surpassed ship strikes as a leading danger to right whales in recent years. Forty-four percent of diagnosed right whale deaths were due to ship strikes and 35 percent were due to entanglements from 1970 to 2009, the study said. From 2010 to 2015, 15 percent of diagnosed deaths were due to ship strikes and 85 percent were due to entanglements, it said. There is reason to believe the entanglements could harm conservation efforts despite recent positive signs on the whales' recovery, Kraus said. Researchers said earlier this year that they were beginning to see more of the whales in Cape Cod Bay, and that was a good sign. Stormy Mayo, a senior scientist at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, said the drive to make fishing gear safer for the whales could be key to saving them. "There's a great deal of work being done to try to change the configurations of various kinds of fishing gear or the methods of fishing to reduce entanglement," he told the AP. North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered species of whales in the world. They spend the warm months feeding in areas off the Northeastern states and Canada and spend the winter off Southern states, where they give birth. They are called right whales because they were hunted relentlessly during the whaling era, when they were considered the "right" whale to hunt because they were slow and floated when killed. Explore further: Fishermen want humpback whales off endangered list More information: Scott D. Kraus et al, Recent Scientific Publications Cast Doubt on North Atlantic Right Whale Future, Frontiers in Marine Science (2016). DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00137

Holliday E.B.,University of Houston | Yang G.,University of South Florida | Jagsi R.,University of Michigan | Hoffman K.E.,University of Houston | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics | Year: 2015

Purpose: To evaluate characteristics associated with higher rates of acceptance for original manuscripts submitted for publication to the International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (IJROBP) and describe the fate of rejected manuscripts. Methods and Materials: Manuscripts submitted to the IJROBP from May 1, 2010, to August 31, 2010, and May 1, 2012, to August 31, 2012, were evaluated for author demographics and acceptance status. A PubMed search was performed for each IJROBP-rejected manuscript to ascertain whether the manuscript was ultimately published elsewhere. The Impact Factor of the accepting journal and the number of citations of the published manuscript were also collected. Results: Of the 500 included manuscripts, 172 (34.4%) were accepted and 328 (65.6%) were rejected. There was no significant difference in acceptance rates according to gender or degree of the submitting author, but there were significant differences seen based on the submitting author's country, rank, and h-index. On multivariate analysis, earlier year submitted (P<.0001) and higher author h-index (P=.006) remained significantly associated with acceptance into the IJROBP. Two hundred thirty-five IJROBP-rejected manuscripts (71.7%) were ultimately published in a PubMed-listed journal as of July 2014. There were no significant differences in any submitting author characteristics. Journals accepting IJROBP-rejected manuscripts had a lower median [interquartile range] 2013 impact factor compared with the IJROBP (2.45 [1.53-3.71] vs 4.176). The IJROBP-rejected manuscripts ultimately published elsewhere had a lower median [interquartile range] number of citations (1 [0-4] vs 6 [2-11]; P<.001), which persisted on multivariate analysis. Conclusions: The acceptance rate for manuscripts submitted to the IJROBP is approximately one-third, and approximately 70% of rejected manuscripts are ultimately published in other PubMed-listed journals, but these ultimate-destination journals usually have a lower impact factor, leading to fewer citations and overall visibility. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. Source

Jagsi R.,University of Michigan | Bennett K.E.,Scientific Publications | Griffith K.A.,University of Michigan | Decastro R.,University of Michigan | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics | Year: 2014

Purpose Peer reviewers' knowledge of author identity may influence review content, quality, and recommendations. Therefore, the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics ("Red Journal") implemented double-blinded peer review in 2011. Given the relatively small size of the specialty and the high frequency of preliminary abstract presentations, we sought to evaluate attitudes, the efficacy of blinding, and the potential impact on the disposition of submissions. Methods and Materials In May through August 2012, all Red Journal reviewers and 1 author per manuscript completed questionnaires regarding demographics, attitudes, and perceptions of success of blinding. We also evaluated correlates of the outcomes of peer review. Results Questionnaires were received from 408 authors and 519 reviewers (100%). The majority of respondents favored double blinding; 6% of authors and 13% of reviewers disagreed that double blinding should continue in the Red Journal. In all, 50% of the reviewers did not suspect the identity of the author of the paper that they reviewed; 19% of reviewers believed that they could identify the author(s), and 31% suspected that they could. Similarly, 23% believed that they knew the institution(s) from which the paper originated, and 34% suspected that they did. Among those who at least suspected author identity, 42% indicated that prior presentations served as a clue, and 57% indicated that literature referenced did so. Of those who at least suspected origin and provided details (n=133), 13% were entirely incorrect. Rejection was more common in 2012 than 2011, and submissions from last authors with higher H-indices (>21) were more likely to survive initial review, without evidence of interactions between submission year and author gender or H-index. Conclusions In a relatively small specialty in which preliminary research presentations are common and occur in a limited number of venues, reviewers are often familiar with research findings and suspect author identity even when manuscript review is blinded. Nevertheless, blinding appears to be effective in many cases, and support for continuing blinding was strong. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Source

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