The Rise and Fall of Peer Review

Adam Mastroianni has written a marvelous article at his substack, Experimental History, evaluating the history, the function and the misfunction of the peer review process.

For the last 60 years or so, science has been running an experiment on itself. The experimental design wasn’t great; there was no randomization and no control group. Nobody was in charge, exactly, and nobody was really taking consistent measurements. And yet it was the most massive experiment ever run, and it included every scientist on Earth.

Most of those folks didn’t even realize they were in an experiment. Many of them, including me, weren’t born when the experiment started. If we had noticed what was going on, maybe we would have demanded a basic level of scientific rigor. Maybe nobody objected because the hypothesis seemed so obviously true: science will be better off if we have someone check every paper and reject the ones that don’t pass muster. They called it “peer review.”

This was a massive change. From antiquity to modernity, scientists wrote letters and circulated monographs, and the main barriers stopping them from communicating their findings were the cost of paper, postage, or a printing press, or on rare occasions, the cost of a visit from the Catholic Church. Scientific journals appeared in the 1600s, but they operated more like magazines or newsletters, and their processes of picking articles ranged from “we print whatever we get” to “the editor asks his friend what he thinks” to “the whole society votes.” Sometimes journals couldn’t get enough papers to publish, so editors had to go around begging their friends to submit manuscripts, or fill the space themselves. Scientific publishing remained a hodgepodge for centuries.

https://experimentalhistory.substack.com/p/the-rise-and-fall-of-peer-review

It is an exceptional essay which helps to explain much of what is occurring in “science” and academia.

Here is a list of his section titles and some excerpts.

A WHOLE LOTTA MONEY FOR NOTHIN’

POSTMORTEM

If reviewers were doing their job, we’d hear lots of stories like “Professor Cornelius von Fraud was fired today after trying to submit a fake paper to a scientific journal.” But we never hear stories like that. 

PEER REVIEW, WE HARDLY TOOK YE SERIOUSLY

CAN WE FIX IT? NO WE CAN’T

Making peer review harsher would also exacerbate the worst problem of all: just knowing that your ideas won’t count for anything unless peer reviewers like them makes you worse at thinking. 

PEER REVIEW IS WORSE THAN NOTHING; OR, WHY IT AIN’T ENOUGH TO SNIFF THE BEEF

Peer review doesn’t work and there’s probably no way to fix it. But a little bit of vetting is better than none at all, right?

I say: no way. 

SCIENCE MUST BE FREE

HOORAY WE FAILED

Nobody was in charge of our peer review experiment, which means nobody has the responsibility of saying when it’s over. Seeing no one else, I guess I’ll do it: 

After this discussion he explains:

What should we do now? Well, last month I published a paper, by which I mean I uploaded a PDF to the internet. I wrote it in normal language so anyone could understand it. I held nothing back—I even admitted that I forgot why I ran one of the studies. I put jokes in it because nobody could tell me not to. I uploaded all the materials, data, and code where everybody could see them. I figured I’d look like a total dummy and nobody would pay any attention, but at least I was having fun and doing what I thought was right.

Then, before I even told anyone about the paper, thousands of people found it, commented on it, and retweeted it. 

https://experimentalhistory.substack.com/p/the-rise-and-fall-of-peer-review

Total strangers emailed me thoughtful reviews. Tenured professors sent me ideas. NPR asked for an interview. The paper now has more views than the last peer-reviewed paper I published, which was in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. And I have a hunch far more people read this new paper all the way to the end, because the final few paragraphs got a lot of comments in particular. So I dunno, I guess that seems like a good way of doing it?

https://experimentalhistory.substack.com/p/the-rise-and-fall-of-peer-review

The essay is fantastic and deserving of a read, perhaps even a subscription.

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Tom Halla
January 2, 2023 6:08 am

Given that the cost of “publishing” has radically declined, one of the motivations for screening papers has gone away. Right now, peer review is more of an imprimatur that the publisher finds the paper orthodox.

Editor
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 2, 2023 3:42 pm

Typical journal fee for publishing a peer-reviewed paper is in the thousands of dollars. I don’t think that cost has declined. But I do agree that the cost of “publishing” has radically declined, and maybe authors should be taking advantage by “publishing” instead of publishing in an expensive “peer-reviewed” journal.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Mike Jonas
January 2, 2023 3:45 pm

Publishing on one of the”pre-print” sites would give much more feedback as to the virtues or vices of the paper than conventional peer review.

rah
Reply to  Mike Jonas
January 3, 2023 12:10 am

It would be a service for one of you writers here to post a list of journals that still maintain a rep for objectivity in who and what they publish.

ResourceGuy
January 2, 2023 6:11 am

But this way the publication mill can also benefit from decades of soft walk back from global warming alarmism with more “studies” adjusting the prior overreach spasm. Tenure and promotion win in both directions.

Doug S
January 2, 2023 6:14 am

It does make me think, was the invention of the electric light bulb first submitted for peer review before it could be marketed? How about the automobile? Sanitary sewers? The water closet? Feminine hygiene products? The transistor? Seems like the world got on very well before we had peer review.

ladylifegrows
Reply to  Doug S
January 2, 2023 6:41 am

The automobile was held back for more than 60 years by the horse lobby. They got laws passed in England limiting speed, and requiring people in front of and behind an auto-mobile to warn people it was coming and prevent scaring horses. I have read of other inventions that never saw the light of day because they would displace someone else’s income, and that group made sure the invention died unborn.

Duker
Reply to  ladylifegrows
January 2, 2023 11:25 am

The ‘red flag’ thing was a valid approach to take for something unknown and unusual but it didnt stop the new forms of stransport
The UK ‘Red Flag Act’ preceded the motor car by a long time as it was designed for rail locomotives and in fact was repealed in 1896 well before cars

Nowadays its common to see an escort vehicle ahead of an outside load- a red flag type of warning. I see them also for trucks carrying houses for relocation , and they are going 50 kph !

Mr.
Reply to  Doug S
January 2, 2023 7:26 am

Eggzachary.

The Wright Brothers didn’t wait around for a claque of second-guessers to give their opinions, they backed their own work.

As did Dr. Marshall?? the West Australian hero who infected himself with the virus that causes stomach ulcers in order to prove that his research was correct, and all the “97% consensus” that stress was the culprit was wrong.

Disputin
Reply to  Mr.
January 2, 2023 11:24 am

Sorry to be pedantic, but stomach ulcers are (believed to be) caused by a bacterium, not a virus.

Mr.
Reply to  Disputin
January 2, 2023 1:02 pm

But not stress, right?

Which was MY pedantic point 🫠

cilo
Reply to  Mr.
January 3, 2023 1:00 am

caused by a bacterium, not a virus.

plus

MY pedantic point

equals:
The internet is awash with paid operatives infecting threads/ ideas/ discussions with very, very subtle and insidious propaganda. Slipping in a virus where bacteria and a polluted food chain belong, is a long-standing campaign to legitimise forcing upon us pricks polluted by metal shards and cancer cells and aspartame. And now toxic proteins…
Forgive us for being pedantic about it?

Last edited 1 month ago by cilo
Duker
Reply to  Mr.
January 2, 2023 11:30 am

That was a different scenario and they actually did their own research first- which was a key innovation. They also built their own design of motor as they knew the power to weight ratio was key. They didnt get it totally wright as wing warping for in air control wasnt they best way forward.
It was a bigger issue that in France no serious aviators believed what they had achieved, literally until they took a more developed version of their plane over and it was demonstrated in public

Mr.
Reply to  Duker
January 2, 2023 1:06 pm

Yeah but they didn’t put their work out to a bunch of second-guessers to reject their concepts because the second-guessers hadn’t gotten that far with subject knowledge at that time?

Duker
Reply to  Mr.
January 2, 2023 6:26 pm

The brothers were practical people, not academics not that peer review existed then. As they were inventing ‘controlled flight’ you keep it a secret till it works ( after many ‘glider’ test flights first)

Gregg Eshelman
Reply to  Duker
January 3, 2023 4:16 am

The Wright Brothers’ desire to protect their patents led to them not becoming immensely wealthy from heavier than air flight. The Wrights had wing warping and what would much later be called “full flying” elevator and rudder. The Wrights put their elevator in front.

Their patents pushed the workaround of hinged flaps for the ailerons, rudder, and elevator (at the rear), attached to rigid wings, tailfin, and horizontal stabilizer. The form the vast majority of aircraft have been built to.

The concept of making the whole aircraft (or just the wings) flexible enough to twist for roll control just didn’t scale up to larger, faster aircraft. The concept has seen a few experiments over the years, with the idea that a wing without any hinged bits, actively twisted or deformed, could produce less drag and be more agile. The problem is coming up with materials that can flex a nearly infinite number of times without fatigue failures while being able to withstand high speed and heavy loads.

slowroll
Reply to  Doug S
January 2, 2023 10:23 am

The difference with these examples is that they were useful products invented by someone using practical emgineering approaches to build something that people wanted, and therefore bought in quantity. No peer-review required for useful items, just a free market. Peer reviews are required for conjectures of doubtful utility in order to gain acceptance of said unproven conjectures; and/or to reject theories that don’t conform to the dogma.

n.n
January 2, 2023 6:16 am

Flat-Earth Syndrome.

That said, a religion (i.e. behavioral protocol) for people capable of self-moderation, competing interests to mitigate the progress of others running amuck.

Last edited 1 month ago by n.n
jshotsky
January 2, 2023 6:18 am

Thomas Gold wrote of this in 1989. What he wrote is as true today as it was then, probably more so. It is worth reading, as are all of his works.
New Ideas in Science, Thomas Gold 1989 (amasci.com)

Drake
Reply to  jshotsky
January 2, 2023 7:13 am

I didn’t read it in full, just scanned down the page and the thought, seen here in many posts, that ‘peer review” is just a method of LIMITING new views and theories in the so called scientific community is IMO true.

The old story of the surgeons stopping new surgeons from washing their hands between patients because that was just never done and the change to more sanitary practices happening after the powerful dominant surgeons died off comes to mind.

We can only hope that there will be a time when the government funding sources will only fund new research that challenges the status quo.

Ex. Masks don’t work against viruses.
Natural immunity is better that MRNA non-vaccines.
The shutdowns just made the “pandemic” last a year longer than necessary.
The China virus was the result of lab gene manipulation.
The “vaccines” are causing the death of young healthy MALES at an disproportionate rate.
Inexpensive available drugs used early in the infection would have saves hundreds of thousands of those who died of the China virus.
Quarantining the entire population IS NOT helpful, just quarantine the sick and those at high risk. The exact opposite of what NY and Michigan did, and still no peer reviewed studies of those government actions of putting sick elderly patients back into elderly care homes.

OR

Any increase in “global average temperature” is a GOOD thing.
The climate computer models MUST be taken and reviewed INDIVIDUALLY, each to stand on its own. Averages of guesses are worthless to ‘science”.
All “climate” research to be investigated to see if the temperature records were ever investigated as to continuity when the METHOD of obtaining those records changed. As in Anthony’s investigation of the siting and equipment in the US. That would be reinstalling the OLD equipment in the OLD location and do the readings the OLD way, while also using the new equipment so that valid correction algorithms can be developed.

Etc. etc.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Drake
January 2, 2023 11:53 am

1865, Dr. Joseph Lister used Carbolic Acid in a wound dressing on a child’s compound fracture. As a result millions of lives have been saved.
Doubtful if it would’ve got past Peer Review

Drake
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
January 2, 2023 5:53 pm

Now see what you went and did??

I just spent my oh so valuable retirement time investigating carbolic acid.

REALLY important primarily FF derived feed stock, as well as an antiseptic

I often learn something new here.

Thanks Ben.

MCourtney
Reply to  Drake
January 3, 2023 1:04 am

The “vaccines” are causing the death of young healthy MALES at an disproportionate rate.

  • Is there any evidence for that?
  • And is the “disproportionate” statistically significant?
  • And is it just a case of more men work outside the office and so were unable to work from home, thus catching covid more frequently – nothing to do with the vaccines?

Climate change scepticism is empirical. Vaccine scepticism is not. Unless you can show some evidence to correct me.

186no
Reply to  MCourtney
January 3, 2023 2:29 am

Climate change scepticism is empirical. Vaccine scepticism is not. Unless you can show some evidence to correct me.”

The usual gaslighting approach but all too simple to refute; I am certain if anyone did direct your one good eye to the “evidence” you would either not read it, or denigrate it in some unempirical kneejerk fashion. If you have not grasped the entirely empirical evidence published worldwide by medics and scientists of all disciplines explaining in very great detail why these jabs are dangerous, plus the data from Governments’ own offical statiticians confirming the extent of adverse effects, premature death AND ACM especially in 2022 onwards, to say nothing of the bombshell revelations from the Pfizer pre EUA trial (that’s the one where the FDA wanted to embargo it for 75 years…..anything “wrong” with that?), the Astra Zenica trials, autopsies done in the US and Germany on cadavers of previously jabbed individuals….you are hardly disposed to an impartial approach to assess such information. If you are in the UK, go ask your GP for a D Dimer test to rule out if your body has micro clots post jab – or are you a troller sans “vaccine”? ( A D Dimer test is what informed and impartial US clinicians use to detect micro clots as other tests – MRI type – cannot detect them as I understand – if you are jabbed and your GP is fully engaged with the Hippocratic Oath you might succeed and you might be very lucky. If you are jabbed and your GP refuses you will remain ignorant; ask him/her what “action” the jab induced spike protein has on every part of the human body – if he/she tells you the impact of the jab stays at the injection site, you will “know” everything you need to know about your GP…..)

(PS: in case you have not clocked this already, Baric of UniNCal et al have described in detail how they have spliced animal coronaviruses to which a non naturally – and never evident in any coronavirus to date – occurring DNA sequence was “added” (that’s the “Furin Cleavage Site” which enables traction with human cellular ACE2 receptors ) – to produce a chimeric coronavirus that was hugely pathogenic to humanised mice where the chimera without the DNA added was benign – i.e. Gain of Function experimentation, at one time outlawed in the US circa 2014 because it was judged to be lethally dangerous to humans; that report was done in 2015, and is “widely available” – go find it and educate yourself. BTW, a certain Dr David Martin has explained in very great detail exactly why, in US Law, any virus that is genetically modified to induce harm to humans, where none existed pre GoF experimentation, is by US legal definition a bioweapon. His website can be found very easily if you wish to look – and contains information which might inform you – and then again might not if you are not prepared beforehand with an open mind)
Sincere apologies if I have misjudged your insight.

MCourtney
Reply to  186no
January 3, 2023 4:24 am

The usual gaslighting approach but all too simple to refute; I am certain if anyone did direct your one good eye to the “evidence” you would either not read it, or denigrate it in some unempirical kneejerk fashion.

It can’t be that simple to refute or you would have done so. No links. Just secret discoveries that people are supposedly keeping secret.

I am certain that I would check the evidence you provided, if you had any to provide.

Seriously, “The “vaccines” are causing the death of young healthy MALES at an disproportionate rate” should be easy to prove. It would be quite noticeable. At the least it should be possible to prove that young, healthy males are disproportionately dying of something.

But you didn’t even do that.

Drake
Reply to  MCourtney
January 3, 2023 9:04 am

But the POINT of my comment is that NO GOVERNMENT is funding any studies into the excess deaths of young men!

And NO GOVERNMENT is funding studies in the effectiveness, or more accurately, the lack of effectiveness of wearing masks in the transmission of viruses.

Next you will tell us all that there is no proof of any election interference of irregularities when, in every case, the judges have thrown out the lawsuits BEFORE discovery, when the OUTSIDERS would be able to actually obtain evidence of misfeasance or maleficence.

But of course, being a statist, and a leftist, this flew right over your head, or more accurately, you ducked to be sure it did so.

MCourtney
Reply to  Drake
January 3, 2023 11:05 am

But the POINT of my comment is that NO GOVERNMENT is funding any studies into the excess deaths of young men!

And they aren’t funding any studies into the increase in sasquatch attacks either.

Following your logic that is because all the governments of the world are secretly run by sasquatches. Not just one, all the governments have come under sasquatch control.

Or following rational logic it’s because you need to find evidence for the sasquatch attacks or excess deaths of young men before anyone wastes resources, panicking about hairy men in the woods.

Reply to  Drake
January 3, 2023 12:18 pm

THIS POST IS ABOUT PEER REVIEW! STOP TRYING TO DIVERT IT TO A DISCUSSION OF VIRUSES, MASKS, AND COVID!!!

I am SICK of people trying to turn every damn thread into their own personal rant about viruses, masks, and COVID.

STOP IT.

I’m sorry for the screaming, but this is WAY out of line. I call on the moderators to do your job. From the site policies (emphasis mine):

• Some off topic comments may get deleted, don’t take it personally, it happens. Commenters that routinely lead threads astray in areas that are not relevant or are of personal interest only to them may find these posts deleted.

• Trolls, flame-bait, personal attacks, thread-jacking, sockpuppetry, name-calling such as “denialist,” “denier,” and other detritus that add nothing to further the discussion may get deleted.

STOP THE THREAD-JACKING, STOP THE OFF-TOPIC COMMENTS!!!

There are literally hundreds and hundreds of threads about viruses, masks, and COVID on the web. Take it there, but take it elsewhere, but STOP IT here. This post is about peer review. Stay on topic or risk being snipped, if I have to do it myself.

w.

MCourtney
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 3, 2023 1:37 pm

Sorry. I won’t post on this thread again.
Did not mean to break site policy.

Reply to  Drake
January 3, 2023 12:47 pm

THIS POST IS ABOUT PEER REVIEW! STOP TRYING TO DIVERT IT TO A DISCUSSION OF VIRUSES, MASKS, AND COVID!!!
I am SICK of people trying to turn every damn thread into their own personal rant about viruses, masks, and COVID.
STOP IT.
I’m sorry for the screaming, but this is WAY out of line. I call on the moderators to do your job. From the site policies (emphasis mine):

• Some off topic comments may get deleted, don’t take it personally, it happens. Commenters that routinely lead threads astray in areas that are not relevant or are of personal interest only to them may find these posts deleted.

• Trolls, flame-bait, personal attacks, thread-jacking, sockpuppetry, name-calling such as “denialist,” “denier,” and other detritus that add nothing to further the discussion may get deleted.

STOP THE THREAD-JACKING, STOP THE OFF-TOPIC COMMENTS!!!
There are literally hundreds and hundreds of threads about viruses, masks, and COVID on the web. Take it there, but take it elsewhere, but STOP IT here. This post is about peer review. Stay on topic or risk being snipped, if I have to do it myself.
w.

Simon
Reply to  186no
January 3, 2023 10:42 am

OK this post wins the award for the biggest load of(unsubstantiated) garbage seen on this site in a good few days. Well done.

MarkW
Reply to  Simon
January 3, 2023 12:47 pm

Now that’s funny.

Reply to  186no
January 3, 2023 12:18 pm

THIS POST IS ABOUT PEER REVIEW! STOP TRYING TO DIVERT IT TO A DISCUSSION OF VIRUSES, MASKS, AND COVID!!!

I am SICK of people trying to turn every damn thread into their own personal rant about viruses, masks, and COVID.

STOP IT.

I’m sorry for the screaming, but this is WAY out of line. I call on the moderators to do your job. From the site policies (emphasis mine):

• Some off topic comments may get deleted, don’t take it personally, it happens. Commenters that routinely lead threads astray in areas that are not relevant or are of personal interest only to them may find these posts deleted.

• Trolls, flame-bait, personal attacks, thread-jacking, sockpuppetry, name-calling such as “denialist,” “denier,” and other detritus that add nothing to further the discussion may get deleted.

STOP THE THREAD-JACKING, STOP THE OFF-TOPIC COMMENTS!!!

There are literally hundreds and hundreds of threads about viruses, masks, and COVID on the web. Take it there, but take it elsewhere, but STOP IT here. This post is about peer review. Stay on topic or risk being snipped, if I have to do it myself.

w.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  MCourtney
January 3, 2023 6:01 am

MCourtney:

Try here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_DdSMn55cA&t=198s
and here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYR1wz-Cf_M&t=5s
also here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRPkfGKI5ao&t=551s

Florida surgeon general recommends against vaccines for otherwise healthy males 18-39. Also against otherwise healthy children 5-17. Also against children 0-5.

I should clarify these recommendations apply only to MRNA vaccines.

Last edited 1 month ago by Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Drake
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
January 3, 2023 9:11 am

Thank you Alan.

AND also note MRNA therapies ARE NOT vaccines.

The CDC changed the definition of vaccine so as to be able to promote the federal taxpayer funded corporate money grab of “universal” “vaccination”.

And NO MCourtney, I am not going to do that research for you either. It has been posted or commented on at WUWT in the past IIRC.

MCourtney
Reply to  Drake
January 3, 2023 11:48 am

As a general rule, people making outlandish claims are the ones who should provide the evidence to support their position.

It’s perfectly reasonable to read something on the internet, check if there’s any evidence to support it or if it sounds plausible…

And then ignore it if fails the sniff test.

MCourtney
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
January 3, 2023 11:45 am

Thank you, Alan Watt. A serious attempt to back up the bizarre claims.
 
In the first paper the article finds 3 (maybe 5) cases of death with an inflamed heart and no other found cause except the antibodies.
Seriously, is that’s what they’ve got?
First problem is that they only did autopsies on those who died. It is rude to autopsy the living. That means n=54. A lot more than 54 people in Germany got mRNA vaccines. Also, for data integrity purposes they only evaluated 35 cases from Heidelberg University Hospital. The paper rightly says that this is a tiny sample size. 5 cases out of all mRNA vaccines takers in the area of Heidelberg University Hospital.
But the paper does say they have not seen this before in 20 years of autopsies, until the Covid vaccines started to be used.
Hmm.  Can anyone think of a confounding cause of deadly antibody build up in reaction to Covid during a Covid pandemic?
The authors of this paper could not.

The second paper re-evaluates the studies done before the vaccine rollout. It uses the same data as was assessed at the time. It finds that the vaccines are slightly more risky than a placebo. We know that. Placebos are very, very safe. But not very effective. The paper comes to the conclusion that “Discussion: The excess risk of serious adverse events found in our study points to the need for formal harm-benefit analyses, particularly those that are stratified according to risk of serious COVID-19 outcomes. These analyses will require public release of participant level datasets.” Fair enough. If Covid is less harmful than first thought, then the risks of the vaccine need to be re-assessed. But there is no evidence that that is the case. Or that the data was mis-assessed on the first place. Are you surprised that trials were done to find out of the vaccines were safe before they were rolled out? This not new information. Did anyone think that the vaccines (or any medicine) have zero risk? Still not seeing signs of young, healthy males disproportionately dying of anything.

The third paper shows an alternative to standard epidemiological designs (their term) when investigating associations between a transient exposure and an outcome event.  
Florida has given different advice to everyone else based on this alternative approach. 
To me the approach seems valid. 
But the problem is not the statistical tool being used, it’s the dataset. “The self controlled case series (SCCS) method is an epidemiological study design for which individuals act as their own control—ie, comparisons are made within individuals. Hence, only individuals who have experienced an event are included and all time invariant confounding is eliminated.” 
Great. It shows that people who are pre-selected for having an adverse effect show signs of an adverse effect. 
The conclusion is somewhat circular. It’s possible to break out of the loop by saying that people who have had an adverse effect are the group who are most vulnerable to adverse effects for any cause.

I do appreciate that you have offered evidence rather than mere opinion. It’s a lot more rational than the post I objected to. And you might be right. I might be wrong.
But, like most people, I am unconvinced.

Reply to  MCourtney
January 3, 2023 12:49 pm

THIS POST IS ABOUT PEER REVIEW! STOP TRYING TO DIVERT IT TO A DISCUSSION OF VIRUSES, MASKS, AND COVID!!!
I am SICK of people trying to turn every damn thread into their own personal rant about viruses, masks, and COVID.
STOP IT.
I’m sorry for the screaming, but this is WAY out of line. I call on the moderators to do your job. From the site policies (emphasis mine):

• Some off topic comments may get deleted, don’t take it personally, it happens. Commenters that routinely lead threads astray in areas that are not relevant or are of personal interest only to them may find these posts deleted.

• Trolls, flame-bait, personal attacks, thread-jacking, sockpuppetry, name-calling such as “denialist,” “denier,” and other detritus that add nothing to further the discussion may get deleted.

STOP THE THREAD-JACKING, STOP THE OFF-TOPIC COMMENTS!!!
There are literally hundreds and hundreds of threads about viruses, masks, and COVID on the web. Take it there, take it elsewhere, but STOP IT here. This post is about peer review. Stay on topic or risk being snipped, if I have to do it myself.
w.

Last edited 1 month ago by Willis Eschenbach
Old.George
January 2, 2023 6:28 am

At its best peer review happens before the first paper is written. The bouncing of ideas around. During the experiment design. And, after it is typed up a peer who can understand it checks for typos or inconsistencies and other suggestions.
At its worst peer review is a stamp of orthodox approval. This kind, the current kind, is science by consensus.

guidvce4
Reply to  Old.George
January 2, 2023 6:37 am

“Peer review” = echo chamber. As it is today.

Russell Cook
Reply to  guidvce4
January 2, 2023 9:17 am

Back in my September WUWT guest post (a reproduction out of my GelbspanFiles blog), I showed how ‘peer review echo chambers’ end up illustrating just how worthless “peer review” has become in the CAGW issue, where the recent tactic twist was to use it to validate the enviro-activists’ political accusations. See:
Peer Reviewed Science Journal Report: ‘Electric Utility Industry’s Role in Promoting Climate Denial, Doubt, And Delay’

Last edited 1 month ago by Russell Cook
Duker
Reply to  Russell Cook
January 2, 2023 11:33 am

Yes. Any really good idea will have doubters but will have the ‘yes, but…’ comments as well.

What seems to be new is the media approach that its some sort revelation of a truth. The actual worthwhile information is the new or better methods of research not the conclusions which may be just whimsy

Last edited 1 month ago by Duker
cilo
Reply to  guidvce4
January 3, 2023 2:21 am

As a poorly-educated busy-nose, I long thought peer review is the bit where you publish your scientific opinion supported by what you consider relevant facts, and every guy that reads your stuff, gets to take relevant, evidence-supported pot-shots at you, until your theory either stands or falls.
That one guy the other day explaining the whole thing on WUWT here, killed a little bit of what was left of my childish naiveté…
(imagine link to that article on WUWT here)

Scissor
January 2, 2023 6:35 am

Hold my beer.

For starters, I will run an even bigger experiment that directly impacts everyone’s life. I’ll abandon established protocols and redefine terms. I’ll use social media to influence and government mandates to force everyone to participate in one form or another.

I’ll release only data that I choose and I’ll use all government power to suppress dissent and to censor and punish anyone who questions the experiment and how it is carried out. I’ll force not only the elderly, but young people, pregnant woman and children to enroll. I’ll actively eliminate any control group and use all legal authority to remove any and all liability for experimental harms.

I will use my position of power to declare, “I am science.”

Mr.
Reply to  Scissor
January 2, 2023 8:03 am

“Don’t take it personal. It’s just business . ..”

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Scissor
January 2, 2023 8:18 am

Don’t forget to declare that “the debate is over”. Never can be too careful.

Scissor
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
January 2, 2023 9:00 am

Good one.

Bill Powers
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
January 6, 2023 4:32 am

and that “the science is settled.”

Said declarations to be broadcast on every network and cable morning show, with guest appearances on Oprah, Ellen and the View, to mobilize the pre-social media cancel crowd.

ladylifegrows
January 2, 2023 6:38 am

This description of a readable paper reminds me of Mendel’s paper. Very easy to read and it created a whole new science.

Paul Stevens
January 2, 2023 7:04 am

Sign me up. Of what use is peer review if anyone can reasonably say “Nonreplicable publications are cited more than replicable ones” as this article did in Science Advances.

Editor
January 2, 2023 7:07 am

If YOU haven’t read the paper “Things Could Be Better” you have really missed something great.

Read it today — start the New Year right.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kip Hansen
Scissor
Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 2, 2023 8:16 am

Not as good as I had hoped.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Scissor
January 2, 2023 11:36 am

😀

Dena
January 2, 2023 7:55 am

The four stage of the evolution of an idea.

  1. A scientist dreams up the idea.
  2. An engineer makes the idea into a product.
  3. A person maintains the product.
  4. Somebody with no knowledge of the above uses the product.

The problem is many of these ideas never get to step number 2. If it works, the engineer will use it. If it doesn’t work, it will be discarded to the waste pile of bad ideas. There is far too much money being put into step one to come up with other ideas while there aren’t that many original thinkers who can package an idea so it’s in usable form for step number two. It’s much better when the scientist is attempting to fulfill a dream rather than ensuring their paycheck.

Duker
Reply to  Dena
January 2, 2023 11:40 am

A lot of research is really about ‘novel’ research techniques. They are very rare to find something new

Drake
Reply to  Dena
January 3, 2023 9:45 am

3. A(n) person maintains free market industrialist manufactures the product with private funds and sells it for a profit OR loses the investment.

There, fixed it for you.

Steve Case
January 2, 2023 8:04 am

Skimming the last 3/4 of the paper the theme was “How could things be better?” Well that’s fine and good. After all we came down from the trees a few million years ago. But one question that seemed to be mostly missing, was “What’s wrong with things as they are?” Well plenty! Peer review aside here’s a list of annoyances we are subjected to on new cars nowadays:

Ford Hybrid issues:

Seventeen steering wheel buttons. 
Eighteen if you count the horn

No spare tire. Battery where spare tire should be.

Key fob – way too easy to get stranded somewhere:

  Man takes wife to airport, parks car, 
  carries her bags into the terminal, 
  returns to car and he is locked out. 
  She has her fob in her purse and his 
  fob is in his coat pocket at home. 
  What’s he supposed to do?

Has that happened to you?

Cruise control accelerates by itself:
 
 Turn signal before passing and car automatically accelerates. 
 Tailgating control, accelerates when slow car turns off
 Takes over steering on lane control
 There is no Cruise control is “ON” or “OFF” notification on the instrument panel.

Panic stop “Collision Alarm” inappropriate. (Scares the hell out you)
Touch screen not disabled while moving. 
Can’t see the start button.(hidden behind steering wheel)
Too much unnecessary information on instrument panel.  
Wiper control reversed from previous Fords.
Flasher button used to be on steering column in front of speedometer on previous Fords.
Flasher button nearly invisible if wearing sun glasses.
“Check the back seat” warning annoying and can’t be disabled.
Select “Park” and get out of the car for some reason and it “BEEP BEEPs” at you; very annoying.
Arm rests uneven
Can’t see the rear window wiper control 
Too much useless information on the “Glass Panel” Instrument Cluster

Dave Fair
Reply to  Steve Case
January 2, 2023 9:33 am

Yet you bought it (I suppose).

Steve Case
Reply to  Dave Fair
January 2, 2023 11:35 am

Wife’s car, I drive it occasionally BUT that sort of crap is on all the new cars & pickup trucks.

Tony Sullivan
Reply to  Steve Case
January 3, 2023 7:59 am

Good post, Steve, and touches on a hot topic of mine. Vehicles have become far too complex for most people to operate; they just want to get in, start the car and drive it to their destinations. All the other “features” are useless to them, but are now part of the car for safety reasons. It’s much less about safety and more about control.

And it’s going to get worse:

https://www.technocracy.news/vehicle-kill-switches-now-mandated-in-new-cars-by-2026/

Frank from NoVA
January 2, 2023 8:06 am

A wonderful article. When I read the author’s analogy re. ‘Gary’, the FDA meat inspector, my immediate thought was ‘Mike’, the consensus climate science reviewer.

Rick C
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
January 2, 2023 4:42 pm

I had a relative who had a job in a meat packing plant of sticking an ice pick into hams and smelling it when pulled out to make sure it wasn’t bad. It was during WWII and was considered an essential job and got him a draft deferment.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rick C
cilo
Reply to  Rick C
January 3, 2023 2:28 am

Now there’s a job taken over by a plastic bag! Just adding a poisonous nitrite salt to all meat solves the botulism problem AND the sales forecasts of pharmafias selling indigestion medication to billions of men growing up with busted guts.
Oh, progress…

Rud Istvan
January 2, 2023 8:18 am

Peer review has become pal review. And it doesn’t work. Not only does it not weed out unreplicable experiments, it doesn’t weed out obvious examples of academic misconduct. Some examples from essays in Blowing Smoke:

  1. Marcott’s Hockey Stick in Science. I presented the editor in chief at the time with the irrefutable evidence, she acknowledged receipt, then did nothing.
  2. Fabricius hydrogen sulfide contaminated Dobu seep purporting to show the coral impact of ocean acidification.
  3. O’Leary’s sudden Emmian sea rise, in reality an earthquake along Quobba ridge.
  4. PMSL’s Whiskey Creek oyster hatchery acidification disaster, when in reality Whiskey Creek had to be managed like the estuary it is not.
Dave Fair
Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 2, 2023 9:41 am

For any of you that have yet to get Rud’s very informative and readable “Blowing Smoke,” get it NOW. Also:

Vaclav Smil’s “How The World Really Works.”

Stephen Koonin’s “Unsettled.”

Andrew Montfort’s “The Hockey Stick Illusion.”

Mark Stein’s “A Disgrace to the Profession.”

Curious George
Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 2, 2023 10:18 am

Climatic Research Unit Emails: “even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”
mail/1089318616.txt November 24, 2009

Mission accomplished.

strativarius
January 2, 2023 8:19 am

The inevitable result is pal review amd groupthink

cilo
Reply to  strativarius
January 3, 2023 2:42 am

I don’t think it is pal review, so much as “I own every publication of note, and they will print what I tell them!” And I know only what my advisors (respectable, decent men, trust them by the authority of my Lodge Master) tell me.
Consider how easy it was for one guy to steer the entire News industry since 2016 by strategic placement of just a few million dollars as gifts, sponsorships and awards. The Great Pandemic had even more precise targeting in their financing.
I think there’s a Soros/Frauci* analog in the scientific literature industry. Who is it? (I believe some eyewitnesses have seen a man with a red shield scurrying behind the castle wall)
*I intentionally corrupt the corrupt cockroach’s name, it fits in the rhyme:
…Baal Gates and his fiend Frauci….

strativarius
Reply to  cilo
January 4, 2023 7:15 am

Ownership is one thing, but pal review is very real:

“…I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin [Trenberth] and I will keep them out somehow, even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”  —Dr. Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit, disclosed Climategate e-mail, July 8, 2004

fmims
January 2, 2023 9:27 am

This is an important addition to the critique of peer review, especially since I have experienced abuses of the review process. On the other hand, I’ve reviewed many papers and books that needed diplomatic suggestions for improving the text. A recent case involved a paper that one of the world’s leading science journals asked me to review. While the text needed only minor revisions, the title was highly misleading. The editor agreed with my concern, and the authors eventually agreed to accept a revised title I suggested. In short, the review process provided a title that I suspect most readers of wattsupwiththat would have also approved. This is not to approve the many abuses of the review system that often occur. A classic example is the IPCC assessment reports, the latest two of which I reviewed as an “expert reviewer.” As for my personal papers, those that received negative reviews were improved by my revisions. This occurred with a paper I sent a leading photochemistry journal. While all 3 reviewers made suggestions that greatly improved the paper, the third reviewer still recommended rejection. After a second round of revisions, he still recommended rejection. When I asked the editor to review the reviews, he agreed that the third reviewer was off base and accepted the paper. Finally, the biggest problem in today’s review system is that some topics are considered “off the table” and are rejected by editors and funding managers without peer review. For example, a decade ago, a National Science Foundation program manager advised me that proposals sent to his division were unacceptable if they did not address global warming! l have more to say about the peer review system in my new memoir. Forrest M. Mims III

Last edited 1 month ago by fmims
Jim Steele
January 2, 2023 9:41 am

EXCELLENT ANALYSIS! All peer-reviewed does is make it more difficult to challenge the current dogma. It doesn’t guarantee truthfulness or usefulness. As  Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet stated ‘peer review is portrayed as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller, but we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong’. 

Climate alarmists who are totally ignorant about the complexities of climate science, will dismiss any ideas, no matter how accurate and scientifically sound, if it is not expressed in a peer-reviewed journal. That’s why Michael Mann’s cabal went after any editor that allowed skeptical thoughts. All peer-review has done is allow charlatans to build a moat around their faulty theories and fool idiots into believing their blind beliefs are absolutely correct without ever engaging in critical thinking!

Last edited 1 month ago by Jim Steele
MarkW
January 2, 2023 10:04 am

I’ve been saying that web sites like WUWT do a much better job of peer review than do any of the so called scientific journals.

Simon
Reply to  MarkW
January 2, 2023 12:28 pm

Translation. WUWT agrees with what I think, but peer review doesn’t. So peer review must be wrong.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Simon
January 2, 2023 1:32 pm

Simon, you would perhaps have a point save for three things:

  1. Nonreproducibility in medicine and psychology has been amply documented in peer reviewed literature. Think Ionnidis papers at Stanford Medical School.
  2. Sketchy stuff at WUWT gets rapidly and intelligently called out in comments near real time, all the time.
  3. NONE of the peer reviewed alarmist consensus bad stuff papers has happened:

a. Arctic summer sea ice did not disappear by 2014.
b. Sea level rise did not accelerate.
c. Weather extremes did not increase.
d. There are no climate refugees.
e. UK children still know snow.
f. Polar bears and pikas are thriving.
g. Renewables turned out to be ruinables.
h. Build your own list continuations. There are many.

Simon
Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 3, 2023 10:49 am

OK so which of your a-g were actually in peer reviewed papers?

Last edited 1 month ago by Simon
MarkW
Reply to  Simon
January 3, 2023 12:51 pm

In an article talking about the many, well known problems with peer review, Simple once again declares that only stuff that passes his idea of peer review is worth looking at.

MarkW
Reply to  Simon
January 2, 2023 1:50 pm

One of these days Simon will say something intelligent. Alas, today is not that day.

I see your ego is still hurting.

186no
Reply to  Simon
January 3, 2023 3:19 am

What on earth is the point of peer reviewing a study detailing a drug trial where, eg, the endpoint is changed part way through, or the “placebo” control group is compromised because it was injected with the trial drug? Anyone know of a good example to quote here……….?

I understand there are many examples peer reviews being shown as plainly fraudulent in their intent to deceive (cf “meta” analysis by John Iaonnides?); my “favourite” is where Dr MK asks rhetorically in his book “Doctoring Data” how many studies into Statins have demonstrated ( as an endpoint ) that these drugs have improved life expectancy? After all, if the drug is mandated to be taken to lower Cholesterol – which the study affirms is “a factor” in coronary heart disease – and the trial shows Statins do lower Cholesterol,an alleged “good thing”, therefore all is hunky dory?

Answer is “none”, to the date of publication. Also, what is the point of peer reviewing any drug trial where the PI is 100% compromised by evident ( and where undisclosed, very real) conflicts of interest – RFK jnr also spills the beans comprehensively on this dark art.

I accept unreservedly not all PR exercises are fraudulent.

Simon
Reply to  186no
January 3, 2023 10:50 am

Sadly WUWT is now invaded by anti-vaxers and crazy ones at that. What a step down.

cognog2
Reply to  MarkW
January 2, 2023 1:08 pm

Yes indeed I reckon WUWT is a form of “Peer Review Squared”; where the reviewers get reviewed. If nothing else it makes you think; which is what the Alarmunists religiously avoid.

Simon
Reply to  cognog2
January 3, 2023 10:53 am

Seriously, what is the point of enthusiastic amateurs, who are all of the same opinion, reviewing their own work? I’m sure flat earthers would be happy to review their own writings and be encouraged to come up with the conclusion the earth has corners.

MarkW
Reply to  Simon
January 3, 2023 12:53 pm

Now that there is funny.

As usual, Simon’s characterizations of those who dare to disagree with the sacred consensus have no basis in any form of reality found outside Simon’s fervent fantasies.

cognog2
Reply to  MarkW
January 3, 2023 1:23 pm

Well said Mark. The Simons of this world and their ilk always need to be outed and called to task.

Simon
Reply to  MarkW
January 3, 2023 2:40 pm

You are welcome to say what you like Mark and often you do in the most silly and at times questionable ways. But sadly for you and your “ilk” credibility is earnt and climate science contrarians often loose what little ground they make by the silliest of comments. You my friend don’t help the cause with your “made-up” bollocks.

Fran
January 2, 2023 10:49 am

My best peer review story is a paper by some Italians that was sent to me. The data in the figures was clear enough, but the analysis indicated all sorts of little effects significant or not. I wrote a review telling the authors how to transform for unequal variances that were correlated with the means, and that this would produce a straightforward story. My reward was a note in the acknowledgements “thanking an anonymous reviewer” for statistical advice.

Fran
Reply to  Fran
January 2, 2023 12:06 pm

One of the first papers from my thesis research came back with 2000 words of criticism – pretty vituperative. However, as a consequence I got into formal pharmacological analysis, changing the direction of my whole career.

I struggled against the “establishment” reviewers. But I think I have the last laugh as I am still running several citations/week 10 years after retiring.

old cocky
Reply to  Fran
January 2, 2023 1:53 pm

but did they take your statistical advice? If so, that was a success for peer review.

It seems rather uncommon for review comments to be acknowledged, so you did pretty well.

I guess that’s one of the pitfalls of being an anonymous reviewer. If your advice had a major effect on the paper, you should probably have been in the fine print as a co-author or contributor, but you were anonymous.

Rick C
January 2, 2023 12:22 pm

I never thought peer review was of much value beyond correction of typos and grammar. It has, for quite some time, been little more than a mechanism for quashing ideas that challenge the orthodoxy held by members of the club that is academia. It is now nothing more than method of formalizing argumentum ab auctoritate (argument from authority fallacy) by which those in positions of power can dismiss any criticism that is not peer reviewed and published.

The article is excellent and the paper that the author cites as and example of how scientific studies could be written in everyday language is worth a read.

Paul Hurley
January 2, 2023 1:05 pm

I wonder how peer review, if it existed in 1905, would have dealt with Einstein’s significant 1905 papers.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Paul Hurley
January 2, 2023 1:42 pm

Very poorly. Crazy stuff like the photoelectric effect caused by the wave/particle duality of electrons, special relativity, Brownian motion! Coming from an unknown Swiss patent clerk. In relatively very short papers, in just one year. Not to mention the 1906 topper as a minor theoretical consequence of special relativity, E=MC^2! Completely crazy stuff. Do not publish, as all 1905 peer consensus physicists disagree.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Paul Hurley
January 2, 2023 1:51 pm

Not a chance in hell. Who would have been his peers? No-one, that is the definition of truly pioneering stuff. I have rarely seen a reviewer who wrote his thoughts back to the editor as: I know nothing of this subject at this level and consider myself not qualified to do what is asked of me. That would collide with big egos and you need only one who then will play ‘safe’ and reports that he or she doesn’t like it. And the editor, a manager nowadays, rarely a scientist, will reject.

Peta of Newark
January 2, 2023 1:50 pm

C’mon peeps, go gentle on me. I haz the blood pressure issues ##

Wheeling out two peeps with a GSOH in as many days is pushing me close to the edge, I may explode and could be messy.
Think of The Climate if nothing else.

U’ve bin warned. No more quick-wits or agile minds, at least till the wknd.
Moderation in all things.

## My own Dr Quack imagines I have and has given me The Pills. Plenty pills.
Thanks to the joys of house moving I went for nearly a month without taking any. (They were put in a Safe Place cardboard box and promptly disappeared)
No matter, I now haz the lowset BP readings I’ve had inside the last 20 years.

I’d tell Dr Quack about this but the queue on his phone-line is typically 30+ people and 2 hours long.
While 500 people per week are dying just waiting for an ambulance here in the UK
what a mess

cilo
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 3, 2023 2:59 am

Dr Quack imagines I have and has given me The Pills

You haz what?
Now that your blood pressure has subsided, do you miss it enough to get back onto all those sweeties that hide the side effects of the other sweeties, who are for fixing the thing from the other sweety you need to counteract the swelling of the sweety that makes you poop because it interacts with that other sweety..
Its all just a virusses anyway…

Editor
January 2, 2023 2:47 pm

Those who are interested in this might recall my earlier post on the subject.

w.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 2, 2023 3:34 pm

As always, ahead of the curve. But your reasonable proposals would utterly disrupt cozy pal review, so have a snowball’s chance in hell of being adopted.

Van Doren
January 2, 2023 3:27 pm

That debunked theory about vaccines causing autism comes from a peer-reviewed paper in one of the most prestigious journals in the world, and it stayed there for twelve years before it was retracted.

He lost me here because the “debunking” paper was actually manipulating data, which we know thanks to a whistleblower with the CDC. There is a book about the story, “Vaccine Whistleblower” by Kevin Barry. In fact, the vaccine “science”, same as the climate “science” are poster boy examples of how peer-review fabricates a phony “consensus”.

n.n
Reply to  Van Doren
January 2, 2023 8:00 pm

Ah, vaxxxines in the modern model. That said, sterilizing, non-migratory inoculations, full disclosure, without mandate/coercion/force, and individual risk assessment.

Van Doren
January 2, 2023 3:32 pm

I think the basic problem is governmental funding. There are simply too many people doing science who are mentally not even remotely equipped for doing such work.

Drake
Reply to  Van Doren
January 2, 2023 6:17 pm

But, But, But, the Journals and their editors make a BUNDLE on the oh so necessary peer review process.

BTW, what would you expect of the great and mighty scholars if they were no longer required to produce so many important papers to submit for peer review?? Oh, yes, they could start teaching more than ONE class, if they even do that.

Just how much would “Universities” save not subscribing to all those journals and reducing the “teaching” staff and therefore their “management” by two thirds??

What would Uncle Sam do with all those tax revenues once the price of tuition reflected actual expenses greatly reducing Bill Clinton’s tuition tax credit? Once the government didn’t fund all the useless crap “research”? Once the student loan scam was reduced by 50% or more?

AND as to student loans, do what Obama did to technical “colleges”. Make the universities PROVE students funded by the government or student loans actually got the “education” the taxpayers paid for, or take the money back!

MarkH
January 2, 2023 11:23 pm

The peer review process of today is little more than gate keeping, enduring that ideas that upset the status quo (and comfortable positions of entrenched academics) never see the light of day. Often, these entrenched academics are beholden to their established funding sources. This leads to particular trouble when the funding source has ideological motivations.

Drake
Reply to  MarkH
January 3, 2023 9:51 am

“ideological motivations” like EVERY funding source in the US government less DARPA?

Energywise
January 3, 2023 12:14 pm

Some sectors of science have sold their souls to the highest bidder, leaving a significant swathe of public distrust – our only hope is that those who haven’t had their pieces of silver and still hold true to basic scientific facts and principles, win through

Editor
January 3, 2023 12:17 pm

THIS POST IS ABOUT PEER REVIEW! STOP TRYING TO DIVERT IT TO A DISCUSSION OF VIRUSES, MASKS, AND COVID!!!

I am SICK of people trying to turn every damn thread into their own personal rant about viruses, masks, and COVID.

STOP IT.

I’m sorry for the screaming, but this is WAY out of line. I call on the moderators to do your job. From the site policies (emphasis mine):

• Some off topic comments may get deleted, don’t take it personally, it happens. Commenters that routinely lead threads astray in areas that are not relevant or are of personal interest only to them may find these posts deleted.

• Trolls, flame-bait, personal attacks, thread-jacking, sockpuppetry, name-calling such as “denialist,” “denier,” and other detritus that add nothing to further the discussion may get deleted.

STOP THE THREAD-JACKING, STOP THE OFF-TOPIC COMMENTS!!!

There are literally hundreds and hundreds of threads about viruses, masks, and COVID on the web. Take it there, but take it elsewhere, but STOP IT here. This post is about peer review. Stay on topic or risk being snipped, if I have to do it myself.

w.

Eamon Butler
January 3, 2023 4:34 pm

So, when writing up a paper that is to be scrutinised by peer reviewers, obviously, you are going to be influenced by what you think will be pleasing to them and win their approval.

Editor
January 4, 2023 3:01 pm

And in a development that might be totally unrelated … but isn’t, we have:

‘Disruptive’ science has declined — and no one knows why

The proportion of publications that send a field in a new direction has plummeted over the last half-century.

Gosh, I wonder why?

w.

Pat from Kerbob
January 4, 2023 7:26 pm

I have written a few papers for the IEEE, and in return I provide reviews on things where I have some knowledge, but it’s tiring the amount of solicitations I get from conferences and journals all around the world, it a circus.
There’s no wonder there are people who do nothing but submit papers.

And the pal review concept is strong, people group and protect their turf.

I’m done with it

peteturbo
January 5, 2023 1:16 am

the gold standard, indeed the only standard of science, is repeatability. to do this, the important items of your paper must be measurable and you must report properly. Any comments must present the same elements and rigour.
peer review without repeatability, measurement and reporting, is nothing more than spell checking and often not even that.

jdgalt
January 7, 2023 12:46 pm

This problem is not solvable in principle because it exploits the Achilles heel of all organizations: someone controls them, and there is no such thing as an unbiased person.

I predict that science will survive, but that to do so it will have to adopt a decentralized trust model. Reviewing someone’s paper will become a paying business, and papers whose author wants acceptance enough will seek out reviewers whom a lot of people trust, and put their names on the abstract page when publishing.

More importantly, these reviewers (and science organizations, if they go on existing) will have to start saying things supporting or denying one another’s trustworthiness, with explanations of why. It may or may not be worthwhile to make this process more candid by exempting statements of this kind from defamation law; I can see good arguments both for and against. But it should be tried.

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