The Absurdity of Peer Review. What the pandemic revealed about… | by Mark Humphries | Jun, 2021 | Elemental June 2021
I was reading my umpteenth news story about Covid-19 science, a story about the latest research into how to make indoor spaces safe from infection, about whether cleaning surfaces or changing the air was more important. And it was bothering me. Not because it was dull (which, of course, it was: there are precious few ways to make air filtration and air pumps edge-of-the-seat stuff). But because of the way it treated the science.
You see, much of the research it reported was in the form of pre-prints, papers shared by researchers on the internet before they are submitted to a scientific journal. And every mention of one of these pre-prints was immediately followed by the disclaimer that it had not yet been peer reviewed. As though to convey to the reader that the research therein, the research plastered all over the story, was somehow of less worth, less value, less meaning than the research in a published paper, a paper that had passed peer review.
I expect the business of scientific publishers is slowly coming to an end.
We will need of course peer evaluation but maybe not in the sense that scientific publication is being suppressed by peer review of some elite journals. Some arXiv type PDF deposit plus some elife/twitter/pubpeer score would be fully sufficient. For me and maybe also for many other people in the field.
FYI – a citation from “Accountability of Research”
Using Natural Science and Engineering Research Council Canada (NSERC) statistics, we show that the $40,000 (Canadian) cost of preparation for a grant application and rejection by peer review in 2007 exceeded that of giving every qualified investigator a direct baseline discovery grant of $30,000 (average grant). This means the Canadian Federal Government could institute direct grants for 100% of qualified applicants for the same money. We anticipate that the net result would be more and better research since more research would be conducted at the critical idea or discovery stage.
Will that be ever read by our governments? Nay, nay.
Campbell writing at Edge about Maddox
Despite his original establishment of the peer-review process at Nature, Maddox always had strong reservations about its conservatism. These were perhaps best reflected in his view that the Watson and Crick paper on the structure of DNA wouldn’t pass muster under the current system. That paper was published as a result of recommendations by Lawrence Bragg Publishing on the recommendations of the head of the authors’ lab weiterlesen
Truthiness was the 2005 neologism in the large country somewhere over/under our horizon (depending on what horizon you are looking). Truthiness in science weiterlesen