Thank you for your note and your interest in Ashton Scientific. After further review, we'd like to invite you to continue the interview process.
For the next step in our recruiting process, Ashton and other chemical companies have started asking applicants to visit a new website, www.scibase.co, and submit *at least one short review* of papers they’ve tried to replicate. We will be using such reviews to aid our recruiting process. A few points to keep in mind:
- You do not need to replicate any new experiments - you only need to discuss previous work you have tried to replicate (from old lab notebooks, etc.)
- You do not need to choose a paper that is already on the list - you can add a new paper and then review it.
- Reviews can be as thorough as desired, but at a minimum should include comments on experimental reproducibility.
- Reviews will be judged on clarity, informativeness, inclusion of experimental results, and provision of useful recommendations.
Positive as well as critical reviews are encouraged. (For a simple example, see http://scibase.co/listings/index/l/133655) You can post under your own name, or – if you prefer – can post anonymously, but in either case, please e-mail me the URLS of your reviews.
After you have emailed back the URLs, we will examine your reviews and based upon that select candidates for phone interviews. We will judge candidates based upon the quantity and quality of reviews, and ask that the reviews be completed in the next 7 days.It looks to me as if SciBase is a pretty standard paper review website, not unlike PubPeer or the zillions of other attempts to start post-publication online peer review sites. (UPDATE: I note that it advertises itself as "Yelp for Synthetic Chemistry", which I find an appealing idea)
I could believe that this is somewhat harmless, but I'd like to know a few things:
- What is the relationship between Ashton Scientific and SciBase? Their websites certainly look similar, but that doesn't mean anything.
- Who are the other chemical companies that are doing this?
- Does Ashton Scientific make money on SciBase's reviews/hits? Could they in the future?
- If Ashton Scientific does indeed make money of SciBase, isn't this requiring free work of applicants?
UPDATE: The founders of SciBase respond. Seems to me that question 1 has not been answered, but questions 3 (no) and 4 have been (no.)