Readers will remember the way Randy Shekman just told off the journals after his Nobel because he no longer needs them?
Now another Nobelist (Sydney Brenner, left, Physiology or Medicine 2002) turns on peer review: In “How Academia and Publishing are Destroying Scientific Innovation” (King’s Review):
Brenner: And of course all the academics say we’ve got to have peer review. But I don’t believe in peer review because I think it’s very distorted and as I’ve said, it’s simply a regression to the mean.
I think peer review is hindering science. In fact, I think it has become a completely corrupt system. It’s corrupt in many ways, in that scientists and academics have handed over to the editors of these journals the ability to make judgment on science and scientists. There are universities in America, and I’ve heard from many committees, that we won’t consider people’s publications in low impact factor journals.
Now I mean, people are trying to do something, but I think it’s not publish or perish, it’s publish in the okay places [or perish]. And this has assembled a most ridiculous group of people. I wrote a column for many years in the nineties, in a journal called Current Biology. In one article, “Hard Cases”, I campaigned against this [culture] because I think it is not only bad, it’s corrupt. In other words it puts the judgment in the hands of people who really have no reason to exercise judgment at all. And that’s all been done in the aid of commerce, because they are now giant organisations making money out of it.
Thus, journals are just the place we should not reasonably expect to have an honest conversation about how evolution happens and doesn’t happen.
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