Peer Review and Quality

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Fri Jan 19 14:21:19 EST 1996



On Fri, 19 Jan 1996, Simon M. Brocklehurst wrote:

> Alexander Berezin wrote:
> > 
> > Stuff deleted
> > 
> > (3) Hence the rat race to get publsihed through PR
> > INCREASES (not decreases) a drive for more and more
> > crap to print (about 90 % of all published).
> > 
>   Stuff deleted.
> 
>   Once again I'll tell you that is ridiculous to claim that 90% papers 
> published in peer reviewed journals (especially journals that are 
> widely regarded as being of high quality) are garbage.
> _____________________________________________________________________________
> |
> |  ,_ o     Simon M. Brocklehurst,
> | /  //\,   Oxford Centre for Molecular Sciences, Department of Biochemistry,
> |   \>> |   University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
> |    \\,    E-mail: smb at bioch.ox.ac.uk | WWW: http://www.ocms.ox.ac.uk/~smb/ 
> |____________________________________________________________________________
> 

Of course, what is 'garbage' is somewhat subjective
and disputable. The estimate I quoted ( 90 % ) is
about the average. I happen to hear (and read) figures
up to 95 %, even 99 % .

The true judgement will, of course, be carried out by 
the posterity. But taken into account that half of all 
papers never cited at all and the remaining half is cited 
just once (usually as self-citation), the above estimate 
is not unplausible. In a "Complete Works" (2 volumes) by
Lev Landau 15 paper out of 90 are ommitted as 'wrong' 
(Landau admited it). So, if you have a (self-admitted) 
garbage rate of 15/90 = 17 % for Nobel Prize laureates, 
the 90 % estimate for rest of us mortals does not appear 
particularly odd. 
Plus there is a GOOD NEWS to it: 10 % is NOT garbage. 
Keep going. 
 
Alex Berezin
 
 



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