Peer Review Anonymity

Graham Clark Graham_Clark at
Thu Nov 2 09:59:01 EST 1995

-On most statements above you will undoubtedly find a 
-large degree of disagreemnt. I can settle with you on 
-(essentially) all the above, PROVIDED you are ready to 
-admit that option B should be available to those who 
-choose to use it. 

By all means have a separate non-peer reviewed literature if
you want. Just don't expect us to pay for it or for it to be
as highly regarded as the peer reviwed literature.

-Overwise, we are back on square one and 
-no matter how the terms can be relabled the system 
-essentially remains a censorship and the only practical 
-way to deal with it is to get around it. Similarly to tax 
-evaders who learn how to get around the revinue, we are 
-(most of us) learning how to cheat the peer review system. 

This to me is an appalling admission.

-(Anonymous) peer review (APR) is simply a nuisance 
-(mistake of science history) we are to live with 
-at present time (fortunately, not for much longer) and 
-not a single argument was presented that APR indeed 
-serves a truly positive purpose save minor cosmetics. 

You are just unwilling to accept ANY arguments in favor of APR.

-Nothing what you say above about the constructibve comments 
-from colleagues helping you to improve the manuscript 
-requires ANONYMOUS peer review  - you will get much 
-(MUCH !) better mileage on this by asking your colleagues 
-DIRECTLY to read your manuscript and give you criticism or 
-comments (self-administerd peer review, if you wish;
-undoubtedly we are more qualified than anyone else to
-know who understands your work the best and who can 
-provide you the best input).

As does everyone else I know, I already ask colleagues to read
manuscripts before submission. That has not stopped me from getting
valuable input from anonymous reviewers. Perhaps anonymity allows
for more honesty, I don't know.

-As a scientist you likely know that the best (and, 
-actually, the only) instrument (in science at least) to 
-resolve the issues is to conduct the experiments. 
-What I am suggesting is a (broadly speaking) an experiment
-and you say that you don't see the point to conduct such
-an experiment because you ALREADY decided that the 
-result will be negative. Scientifically this means
-that you subscribe to a metaphysics (a-priori knowledge). 

-Anonymous peer review (APR) as a science benefactor
-is one of such myths, now (fortunately) is about to

As I said above, there is nothing to stop you from doing the 
experiment just don't expect us to pay for it. Are you also 
suggesting that APR has no place in the grant system? That 
anyone who wants to do an experiment should be funded?

  C. Graham Clark, Ph.D.
  Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases,
  National Institutes of Health,
  Bethesda, MD 20892
  Ph.: 301-496-4740
  FAX: 301-402-4941
  e-mail: gclark at

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