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Peer review; At Discover Magazine, Neuroskeptic asks whether science can work without trust.

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No, but why not?:

It may be difficult to conjure data out of thin air. But that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to misrepresent data. I might conduct an experiment using certain methods, and then present the results as if I had used different methods, implying a false conclusion. For instance, I might secretly ‘spike’ some of my samples in such a way as to change the results of my tests. Such subterfuge really happens. When it’s been suspected, it has sometimes led to Orwellian measures – people have resorted to placing cameras around the lab to record what scientists are up to.

It seems to me that if scientists stopped trusting each other, such Big Brother measures would be the only way that scientists would be able to convince each other of their claims. I suspect that few researchers would be willing to work under such conditions.

He makes a thoughtful distinction between idealistic and pragmatic trust;

Question: Can any system work without trust?

What about this? Maybe a den of thieves can succeed, in the sense that if everyone there is a psychopath. So they can all try to figure out what a fellow psychopath would do in a given situation.

Would that work? Would they be more or less vulnerable if in conflict with an honest person?


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I see no difference between scientists and politicians these days and I certainly don't trust politicians. humbled

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