Biotech Updates

Help Evaluate GMO Peer-reviewed Literature

January 11, 2017

Is there a scientific consensus about genetically modified organisms and health? The Alliance for Science is examining that question, and we invite you to participate as a rater in their research study! You don't need a degree in science to participate—just the willingness to contribute your time and unbiased perspective.
They are evaluating more than 12,000 abstracts (1996-2015) available from Web of Science, one of the largest aggregators of published information in the sciences and using a method derived from researchers studying global warming and climate change.

How can you help? You can help by rating the abstracts. Scientists and citizen scientists may read the abstracts and decide if the abstract makes a determination on whether biotechnology has an implicit, explicit, or neutral statement on human health. These terms and the numerical score will be explained in the rating itself. You choose the number of randomly assigned abstracts you want to rate (either 100 or 200), and you will have five days after you sign up to complete ratings.

Each abstract will be rated twice, by two independent raters (and no rater will receive the same set of abstracts to rate), and once again by the author of the abstract (pending their participation). Raters must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have experience reading scientific and highly technical abstracts, written in English, on plant genetics
  • Be able to rate abstracts impartially, even if you have strong opinions about genetically modified organisms

We know that you will want to participate! The nature of this academic study requires a fair bit of work. There will be no compensation but they are offering the following incentives:

  • You will be included in the "acknowledgements" section of any subsequent peer-reviewed publications. (Your ratings, however, will remain completely anonymous. All ratings will be randomized before analysis, and are secured by Cornell University's IT infrastructure.)
  • You will be participating in an innovative approach to scientific research review!

Read more about the study on the Alliance for Science website.

Ready to get started? Email Jaron Porciello (Associate Director, Research Data Engagement) to get started and for more information. This study is approved by Cornell University's Institutional review board, Protocol ID#: 1604006296.