More Peer Review - More Garbage

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Fri Oct 6 09:15:58 EST 1995

On Thu, 5 Oct 1995, norman d. smith wrote:

> The only thing wrong with peer review is the way it is applied.  If I write 
> something, it must be peer reviewed before it can be published or probably 
> even read.  This process does not allow for the new, the unusual, the 
> non-scientist discoverer, to be widely read or even discussed.  The process 
> itself limits the field.
> I say again, peer review is not wrong.  It is only in the way it is applied.
> Norm Smith

The above is PRECISELY what we (critics of Anonymous Peer Review,
AS IT USED NOW) are saying all along. Unfortunately, you often
can't change the WAY something is applied without addressing more
fundamental level. Peer review seems to be this case. It is
not "wrong" as such, and even "anonymity" can be accepted PROVIDED
it is directed on the IMPROVEMET of the manuscript (this becomes
more and more rare in actual practice). However, the existing 
reward system in science (of which PRESENT FORM of peer review
is inherent part) must be adjusted in order to DISCOURAGE 
publish-perish paper mill, which present peer review system 
consistently does.

I re-post the reference list. There many more recent papers
on the same published recently (another was in the last 
American Scientist by Dr. Goodstein of Caltex). Those who care 
to STUDY (as opposed to have a pre-judged uninformed opinion)
what goes on with the present peer review system, will have no
trouble to establish that the essence of what we (critics of PR) 
are saying is largely in agreement with the above comment by 
Dr. Smith rather than contradictory to it.

Alex Berezin


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