Posted on October 26, 2018
Prof Christian Pirk, Head of the Social Insects Research Group in the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the University of Pretoria (UP), was recently named a top reviewer in Publons' global Peer Review Awards after having been placed among the top 1% of reviewers in Plant and Animal Science internationally.
Publons’ Peer Review Awards honour the elite contributors to scholarly peer review and editorial pursuits internationally. Recipients have demonstrated an outstanding expert commitment to protecting the integrity and accuracy of published research in their various fields.
According to Prof Pirk, “By playing an active role in the peer review process, in which the outputs of scholarly research are evaluated, and by being recognised for it, I aim to lead by example and motivate my students to read and critically evaluate what is presented to them as scholarly articles, news stories, political statements and information, and their sources in general.”
He added: “Any form of teaching has the purpose to not only transfer knowledge, but to also convey to learners and students a skill set that enables them to evaluate complex issues and critically evaluate them, thereby equipping the new generation to make informed decisions and be active, critical members of society. In the light of ‘fake news’ in general, and publishers that are more interested in ‘article-processing costs’ than in the quality of research, it becomes more and more important to separate fact from fiction and bad science from good science.’
Prof Pirk was born in Berlin, Germany, and studied Biology and Mathematics at the Berlin Technical University before completing his PhD at Rhodes University. His research focuses on the behavioural and chemical ecology of social insects, in particular honeybees. He is involved in international networks, with an interest in pollinator and honeybee health, and collaborates with colleagues in Europe, Asia, America and Africa, and provides a base for students interested in behaviour, chemical ecology, mathematical modelling, nutrition and social insects. He is a member of the South African Academy of Science and of several international networks, and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Insect Behaviour and Scientific Reports.
He received a C1 rating from the National Research Foundation and is also ranked among the top 50 behavioural ecologists in Germany, based on online citations. In 2012, he received a UP Exceptional Young Achiever award.
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