Corrupted Peer Review
berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Thu Apr 3 17:07:42 EST 1997
PEER REVIEW NONSENSE
For those who have already overcome the
fallacy of the Peer Review Myth (and for
those who still wrestling with themselves on
the issue) a refreshing reading is:
David F. Horrobin, "Peer Review of Grant
Applications: a Harbinger for Mediocrity in
Clinical Research", Lancet, 1996, 348: 1293-95.
What Horrobin is saying is not, of course, limited
to clinical research but pertains to the entire
socially corrosive and intellectually bankrupt
philosophy of "selectivity and enforced excellence"
perpetuated (in Canada) by NSERC/MRC bureaucracy
and self-serving, self-appointed panels of their
so called "experts".
Some quotes from Horrobin's article:
"Peer review, as at present constituted, cannot
deliver ... the projects which are funded are
[ largely ] those that are fundamentally mediocre
in the sense that will extend existing lines of
thought in predictable directions...".
"Peer review ... encourages lying and favours the
corrupt ... the encouragement of corruption is an
inevitable consequence of review by expert
competitors ... [ lengthy detailed argument
follows ] ... the system encourages the dishonesty
and elevates the corrupt."
Horrobin than argues that complicated "research
Councils" (in Canada: NSERC and MRC) should be
eliminated, and replaced by much more simpler
agencies, practicing more equtable result-dependent
funding alocation schemes - exactly the same
what is advocated by CARRF (Canadian Association
for Responsible Research Funding) for the last
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