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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SOME REFERENCES ON PEER REVIEW AND FUNDING MODELS

Berezin, A. A. (1993). The SSC and peer review. Physics World 
(Dec.), 19. 

Berezin, A. A., R. Gordon & G. Hunter (1995). Anonymous peer   
     review and the QWERTY effect. Amer. Physics Soc. News,  
     March 1995. 

Berezin, A. A. & G. Hunter (1994). Myth of competition and NSERC
     policy of selectivity. Canadian Chemical News  46(3), 4-5. 

Forsdyke, D. R. (1983). Canadian medical research strategy for    
     the Eighties I. Damage-limitation or superelitism? Med.      
     Hypotheses  11, 141-145. 

Forsdyke, D. R. (1983). Canadian medical research strategy for    
     the Eighties II. Promise or performance as the basis for the 
     distribution of research funds? Med. Hypotheses  11,         
     147-156. 

Forsdyke, D. R. (1989). Sudden-death funding system. FASEB J.     
     3(10), 2221. 

Forsdyke, D. R. (1989). A systems analyst asks about AIDS         
     research funding. Lancet  2(December 9), 1382-1384. 

Forsdyke, D. R. (1991). Bicameral grant review: an alternative to 
     conventional peer review. FASEB J.  5, 2312-2314. 

Forsdyke, D. R. (1992). Bicameral grant review: how a systems     
     analyst with AIDS would reform research funding.
     Accountability in Research  3, 1-5. 

Forsdyke, D. R. (1993). On giraffes and peer review. FASEB J.  7, 
     619-621. 

Forsdyke, D. R.(1994). Authorship and misconduct. Nature 370, 91. 

Forsdyke, D. R. (1994). A theoretical basis for accepting         
     undergraduate academic record as a predictor of subsequent   
     success in a research career. Implications for peer review.  
     Accountability in Research  3, 269-274. 

Gordon, R. (1993). Grant agencies versus the search for truth. 
     Accountability in Research: Policies and Quality Assurance   
     2, 1-5. 

Gordon, R. (1993). Alternative reviews. University Affairs        
     (Assoc.of Universities and Colleges of Canada) 34(6), 26. 

Horrobin, D. (1981/1982). Peer review: Is the good the enemy of   
     the best?  J. Res. Communic. Stud.  3, 327-334. 

Horrobin, D. F. (1990). The philosophical basis of peer review    
     and the suppression of innovation. J. Amer. Med. Assoc.      
     263(10), 1438-1441. 

Kenward, Michael. (1984). Peer review and the axe murderers",
     New Scientist, 102 (1412), p. 13 (31 May, 1984). 

McCutchen, Charles W. (1991). Peer Review: Treacherous Servant,
     Disastrous Master. Technology Review, vol. 94, #7,  
     (October 1991), 28-40.

Osmond, D. H. (1983). Malice's Wonderland: research funding and   
     peer review. J. Neurobiol.  14(2), 95-112.

Savan, Beth. (1990). Science Under Siege (The Myth of             
     Objectivity in Scientific Research, CBC Enterprises,         
     Toronto, 1988. 

Szent-Gyorgyi, Albert. (1972). Dionysians and                     
      Apollonians, Science, 176, 966 (1972).
               
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