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Op-Ed at The Scientist pleads for peer review—too late


No sorry, Tricia, the peer review system is dead. Skinny: Tricia Serio’s  op-ed demonstrated the fact unwittingly at The Scientist:

Peer Review is in Crisis, But Should Be Fixed, Not Abolished

This year three Nobel Prize-winning biologists broke with tradition and published their research directly on the Internet as so-called preprints. Their motivation? Saving time.

Gosh. Why would that matter to them?

How did things get so bad? It’s all about competition, supply, and demand. Modern science is done in the context of a tournament mentality, with a large number of competitors (scientists) vying for a small number of prizes (jobs, tenure, funding). To be competitive, scientists must prove their “worth” through publications, and this pressure has created unanticipated challenges in how scientists report their own work and evaluate that of others—ultimately resulting in unacceptable delays in sharing sound science.

But trying to bypass this traditional route for sharing scientific results is not likely to advance scientific progress. More.

Actually, dumping peer review may well advance progress if it rescues geniuses from the clutches of tenured mediocrities.

What if Barbara McClintock and Lynn Margulis had not been not held down by the dead hand of Darwin?

Some bright boys may be evil geniuses, to be sure, but the internet changes everything so we must sort that stuff out later anyway.

Make no mistake: The fact that this conversation is even happening is more significant than any proposals made.

See also: Peer review “unscientific”: Tough words from editor of Nature

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