Another UK Committee. Winners call the tune

Donald Forsdyke forsdyke at
Mon Jul 12 08:01:21 EST 2004

The following, commenting on an article in Nature 1st July concerning a UK
Committee of which Dr. Stephen Harnad was a member, was recently declined by

Dear Dr Forsdyke,

Thank you for your Correspondence submission, which we regret we are unable
to publish.

As I'm sure you're aware, pressure on our limited space is severe, so we can
offer to publish only a few of the many submissions we receive. As a matter
of editorial policy, we do not assign a high priority to letters that draw
attention to the authors' own work.

Naturally, I am sorry to convey a negative response in this instance.

Yours sincerely,

Madeline Hutchinson

Peer review winners call the tune

Dear Editor,

                    A “panel of academics” argue that the public should see
as meritorious scientific claims that had been certified by peer review, but
the public does not do this because it does not know about peer review. On
the other hand, the panel deplores the “moaning” of scientists “about the
hassles of peer review” (Nature 1st July).

                   Perhaps if the public knew more about peer review it also
would criticize its flaws? The objectivity of a panel composed largely of
peer review winners must be questioned: “We are excellent scientists. The
peer review system has judged us as excellent. Therefore the peer review
system must be excellent. Therefore peer review is the gold standard for
evaluating scientific claims” (1).

Donald R. Forsdyke,
Department of Biochemistry,
Queen’s University, Kingston,
Ontario, Canada K7L3N6

(1) Forsdyke DR. Tomorrow’s Cures Today? How to Reform the Health Research
System. Harwood Academic, Amsterdam, 2000.
You will note that the letter was declined, not because the arguments were
invalid, but because of competition for space and because I gave a reference
that I judged would be helpful.

Donald Forsdyke, Discussion Leader. Bionet.journals.note

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