Scientific peer review: an ineffective and unworthy institution

Posted in Research on December 12th, 2017 by steve

“Given the entirely appropriate degree of respect that science has for data, the ongoing discussion of peer review is often surprisingly data-free and underlain by the implicit assumption that peer review – although in need of improvement – is indispensable …” (more)

[Les Hatton and Gregory Warr, Times Higher Education, 9 December]

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The peer review system has flaws. But it’s still a barrier to bad science

Posted in Research on September 20th, 2017 by steve

International“Democracy and scientific peer review have something in common: it’s a ‘system full of problems but the least worst we have’. That’s the view of Richard Smith, a medical doctor and former editor of the illustrious British Medical Journal …” (more)

[Brenda Wingfield, The Conversation, 20 September]

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Amidst criticism of the peer review process, the valuable contributions of reviewers should be defended

Posted in Research on September 16th, 2017 by steve

“As flaws in the peer review process are highlighted and calls for reform become more frequent, it may be tempting for some to denigrate and dismiss the contributions of the reviewers themselves. Maxine David has been witness to this and here makes an appeal to give space to recognise those who offer their time and expertise voluntarily and generously …” (more)

[Impact of Social Sciences, 16 September]

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Formal recognition for peer review will propel research forward

Posted in Research on June 1st, 2017 by steve

“Academic research has been beset by a number of disturbing problems in recent years; from the reproducibility crisis and long publication delays, right through to article retractions and admissions of researcher misconduct. This has led to increasing public and media scepticism as to the quality and integrity of research …” (more)

[Andrew Preston and Tom Culley, Impact of Social Sciences, 1 June]

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Gender bias distorts peer review across field

Posted in Research on March 22nd, 2017 by steve

International“In many scientific fields, women publish fewer papers than men, are less likely to be listed as first authors and are less likely to receive glowing letters of recommendation from their advisers. These disparities have decreased over time, but they persist. Now, a study finds that some journal editors might be inadvertently taking gender into account when selecting reviewers for papers …” (more)

[Erin Ross, Nature News, 21 March]

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The peer-review system for academic papers is badly in need of repair

Posted in Research on February 26th, 2017 by steve

International“Peer review, or scientific refereeing, is the basis of the academic process. It’s a rigorous evaluation that aims to ensure only work which advances knowledge is published in a scientific journal. Scientists must be able to trust this system: if they see that something is peer reviewed, it should be a hallmark of quality …” (more)

[Michael Rose and Willem Boshoff, The Conversation, 26 February]

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‘You never said my peer review was confidential’ – scientist challenges publisher

Posted in Research on January 23rd, 2017 by steve

International“Are peer-reviewers free to openly share the content of their reviews if journal editors haven’t explicitly told them not to? Jon Tennant, a scientist-turned-outreach specialist, thinks so. Tennant had reviewed a research paper submitted to the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology …” (more)

[Quirin Schiermeier, Nature News, 23 January]

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Peer review is in crisis, but should be fixed, not abolished

Posted in Research on November 15th, 2016 by steve

USA“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 …” (more)

[Tricia Serio, The Conversation, 15 November]

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Top peer reviewers are motivated by their dedication to science

Posted in Research on September 24th, 2016 by steve

USA“When Jonas Ranstam wakes up in the morning, one of the first things he does is review other people’s scientific papers. By his count, the independent medical statistician spends 24 hours a week peer reviewing – and in sum, over the past year, he has reviewed 661 papers …” (more)

[Shannon Palus, Slate, 23 September]

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Robot-written reviews fool academics

Posted in Research on September 23rd, 2016 by steve

International“Soulless computer algorithms are already churning out weather bulletins, sports reports, rap lyrics and even passable Chinese poetry. But it seems machines have now taken another step towards replacing human enterprise by generating their own reviews of serious academic journal papers that are able to impress even experienced academics …” (more)

[Jack Grove, Times Higher Education, 20 September]

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Would peer review work better if reviewers talked to each other?

Posted in Research on September 21st, 2016 by steve

UK“Would distributing all reviewers’ reports for a specific paper amongst every referee before deciding whether to accept or reject a manuscript make peer review fairer and quicker? This idea — called ‘cross-referee commenting’ — is being implemented by the journal Development, as part of its attempt to improve the peer-review process …” (more)

[Retraction Watch, 21 September]

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Peer Review in the Humanities and Social Sciences: If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It?

Posted in Research on September 21st, 2016 by steve

USA“While much of the contemporary debate around peer review focuses on both journal articles and STEM fields, here we are going to focus on humanities and social science (HSS) fields where both longer articles and book-length projects are more common. Does HSS peer review have the same functions, goals, and challenges as STEM peer review? …” (more)

[Alison Mudditt, The Scholarly Kitchen, 21 September]

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Why not make academic journal acceptance portable?

Posted in Research on May 16th, 2016 by steve

USA“In a changing market, authors increasingly find themselves negotiating with publishers to see their work to completion, even after they successfully navigate academic peer review, writes, Michael S Evans. The solution is to make journal acceptance portable …” (more)

[Inside Higher Ed, 16 May]

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Should academics be paid for peer review?

Posted in Research on March 18th, 2016 by steve

UK“As the number of papers needing review increases, journals are thinking of replacing a voluntary system with cash rewards. A big part of being an academic is working for free. Not only do many researchers work beyond their contracted hours, as other employees do, but they also agree to review the work of their peers, unpaid …” (more)

[David Matthews, Times Higher Education, 16 March]

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Academia.edu crowdsources speedy peer review solution

Posted in Research on November 6th, 2015 by steve

UK“An academic social network is aiming to transform the peer review process using crowdsourcing. Academia.edu has launched a service called PaperRank, which gives each article on the site a score based on how many recommendations it has received from other researchers …” (more)

[Chris Havergal, Times Higher Education, 5 November]

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Open peer review ‘better quality’ than traditional process

Posted in Research on October 15th, 2015 by steve

UK“Open peer review produces better scrutiny of research than traditional methods, according to a new study. Reviews were found to be of slightly higher quality – around 5% better – when authors could see who had reviewed their papers and these assessments were made available with the published article …” (more)

[David Matthews, Times Higher Education, 15 October]

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UCC president calls for peer review for Government

Posted in Governance and administration on August 28th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“State agencies and Government departments should be subjected to international peer review on a regular basis to ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness, according to the president of University College Cork (UCC), Dr Michael Murphy …” (more)

[Barry Roche, Irish Times, 28 August]

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The peer review drugs don’t work

Posted in Research on May 29th, 2015 by steve

UK“It is paradoxical and ironic that peer review, a process at the heart of science, is based on faith not evidence. There is evidence on peer review, but few scientists and scientific editors seem to know of it – and what it shows is that the process has little if any benefit and lots of flaws …” (more)

[Richard Smith, Times Higher Education, 28 May]

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Slay peer review ‘sacred cow’, says former BMJ chief

Posted in Research on April 21st, 2015 by steve

UK“Peer review is a sacred cow that is ready to be slain, a former editor-in-chief of the British Medical Journal has said. Richard Smith, who edited the BMJ between 1991 and 2004, told the Royal Society’s Future of Scholarly Scientific Communication conference on 20 April that there was no evidence that pre-publication peer review improved papers or detected errors or fraud …” (more)

[Paul Jump, Times Higher Education, 21 April]

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How International Is Peer Review?

Posted in Research on January 21st, 2015 by steve

USA“Impartiality in peer review has been a focus of recent debate as a number of studies have shown that peer review is not as impartial as it is assumed to be (eg Lamont, 2009). Studies have shown that peer-review in academia is biased against many characteristics of the author …” (more)

[Liudvika Leiyste, insidehighered, 20 January]

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