I have now read the article on attention by Dr. Ward.
To be honest, I do not have clear disagreements on particular contents, but this article made me think how a Scholarpedia article on attention should be organized in general.
Having looked at other articles on schalorpedia, I'm convinced that articles on scholarpedia become most useful for readers when they provide detailed descriptions of a specific topic (just like TICS or Nature Reviews Neuroscience). In the case of the target article on attention, I felt uncomfortable to take it as the main scholarpedia article on attention, as attention is such a broad term and studied in many different fields of neurosciences. While my main concern is whether the article represents a broad range of studies on attention, I recognise the difficulty for any single person to write a comprehensive review on attention. In addition, although I do see the author's effort to cover a broad range of relevant topics, each description of an spect of attention ended up being very brief (just like entries categorized as 'stabs' on wikipedia). I hope each section is going to be elaborated further by the author or other experts on each topic.
So my doubt about this article concerns not the article by Dr. Ward per se, but the general organization of the articles related to attention. I think Schalorpedia would benefit more if the article on attention was organized as a sort of table of contents with links to particular topics related to attention. For that purpose, the present article could be re-organized so that each paragraph serves as an introductory paragraph to each topic. Sometimes I even got an impression that the author felt forced to include as many topics as possible. I believe most readers would benefit from the opinions from the author's expertise. For example, the author would have much more to say about "EEG and attention orienting" or "Inhibition of return". I would be much more interested to read an article on such a topic written by the author.
So in summary, I have two suggestions. 1. Make a table of contents for various aspects of attention. 2. Include an additional article on more specialized theme by the author.
I'm aware that my requests above requires considerations by scholars involved in keeping the quality of scholarpedia, and it's not my position to make such a decision. Moreover these are not easy comments for the author to deal with by simply making changes to the text. However, my understanding of Scholarpedia is to produce genuinely useful guide to scholarly topics and I believe reorganizing the whole section would make it easier for all of us to develop sections on attention in the future. If this possibility would be considered, I'm happy to make suggestions about making a table of contents for attention. The author has done reasonably good job already, but I think we can further elaborate it to cover more topics.
Below I list the articles on attention (and number of words allowed for each) from the now-being-written Sage Encyclopedia of Perception (Ed. B. Goldstein). There are also a number of other articles in the Encyclopedia that mention attention as special topics (e.g., Perceptual development: attention). As can be seen, there is a "general" article and a lot of specific ones (although not all of those covered by the present article, and including some not covered - e.g., attention and emotion). This is provided to help the editors make their decision.
Attention 3,000 Attention and Consciousness 2,000 Attention and Emotion 2,000 Attention and Medical Diagnosis 1,000 Attention and Memory 2,000 Attention: Cognitive Influences 2,000 Attention: Covert 2,000 Attention: Cross-Modal 2,000 Attention: Disorders 2,000 Attention: Divided 2,000 Attention: Effect of Breakdown 2,000 Attention: Effect on Perception 2,000 Attention: Object-Based 2,000 Attention: Physiological 2,000 Attention: Selective 2,000 Attention: Spatial 2,000 Attention: Theories of 3,000
Reviewer A: comments Reviewer A
I have read the article 'Attention' by Dr Ward with interest. I think the article deals adequately with important aspects of attention research.
My main concern with the article is similar to a concern raised previously by reviewer B, and it might have to do with editorial policy more than the text written by Dr Ward. Considering the large and diverse literature on attention I wonder whether it is feasible to attempt to cover it in a single Scholarpedia entry.
While I think the text deals adequately with a number of aspects of attention research, I feel that a number of prominent topics of attention research are not (sufficiently) addressed. For instance, I would expect a discussion of the effects of attention on neural activity in sensory cortex (e.g. McAdams & Maunsell 1999, J Neurosci 19(1) for just one example regarding visual attention). Similarly, the distinction between spatial, feature based and object based attention is an important topic in visual attention research that I feel should be prominently addressed (e.g Mounsell & Treue 2006, TINS 29(6); Yantis & Serences 2003, Curr Op Neurobiol 13).
The current text is already quite long and diverse. Also, in contrast to the relative lack of discussion on some topics that I deem important, some paragraphs of the current text go into quite some technical detail regarding other issues. The 'Costs and benefits of symbolic cues' paragraph, for instance, is a fairly specific description of an experimental paradigm. I am therefore unsure whether simply adding paragraphs on the topics that I (and other reviewers) suggest would enhance the readability and usefulness of the article, and I am inclined to agree with reviewer B that a good solution may be to write a concise main article and then link to separate articles that provide more detail.
To reiterate, I am quite happy with the way the article discussed the topics that it does deal with. However, there are other important topics that are not sufficiently addressed. I doubt whether simply expanding the article until reviewers from various subfields are all content is the best way to go, and I tend to agree with reviewer B's suggestion of splitting the article up into one central document and various more specialized ones.
LMW Response specifically to Reviewer A on 3 Oct 2008: I know that I can't change the article enough to make it acceptable given your preferred strategy but this is to let you know that I have emended it to include both the references you mention and a few relevant others to at least provide an entry to the effects of attention in the visual and other sensory cortices, as well as to the space-based vs object-based discussion. I admit that I did give these topics rather short shrift, even given the broad focus of my article. So it is now slightly better although as you state it cannot accomplish what you wish. But given that it is still sitting here and being hit upon, and the other reviewer has now accpeted it (even though he shared your opinion), I made the changes anyway.
Response by Reviewer A, 11 Oct 2008:
I am happy with the modifications now made to the article. I think the article gives a good all-round introduction to this complex and diverse subject.
I am not sure if the link to 'shadowing' in the first paragraph is accurate The actual concept being referred to has got nothing to do with math.