Peer Review: WHO pays?

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Fri Nov 3 10:19:14 EST 1995

(much deleted)

On 3 Nov 1995, Graham Clark wrote:

> All off the above. APR is a form of quality control. I would not
> expect the public to pay for a product that had not been examined
> objectively before being unleashed on them.

Even if (and when) APR does provide a form of quality
control, you should see its over sides/functions at a
ballance sheet. And it is far from obvious that APS's
other functions (comformistic pressures, censoring of
radical ideas, etc) are overweighted by what you
call "quality control". Your analogy with consumer 
products is also not quite to the point: while we can't 
tolerate TV sets with high probability of exposion, in
science we CAN (and should) tolerate (and encourage) the 
ideas we disagree with. 

> -"anyone who wants to do an experiment should be funded":

> -precisely, for as long as he/she can reliably demonstate
> -his/her qualifications (track record assessment - I am
> -NOT against this and this is NOT a peer review). 

> So would you be happier if we called APR "research product assessment"?
> I fail to see any substantive difference between peer review of grants
> and peer review of manuscripts. 

I am not talking here about the difference between PR for
grants and manuscripts. I am talking about the "track record
assessment" (to determine the funding level) which is NOT
peer review by the following reasons:

In APR (both of grants and manuscripts) the reviewers 
(peers: by definition your competitors) have access to 
the priveledged (yet unpublished) information.
Much of recent criticism of APR was related to the
unlawful use of this priveledge information (in short,
intellectual theft). (this is not to say that all APRers 
are thiefs, but some unfortunately are).

In assessing track record (actually, you CV), only
ALREADY PUBLISHED work is considerd, so all of it is 
a public domain information the reviewers have no 
advantages in comparison with all the rest.       

> Graham

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