reply to post by Byrd
Thank you Byrd. I was hoping more folks with intimate knowledge of this process would chime in. Mostly in the interest of fairness and balance.
Have you ever gotten a paper in (or through) a peer review process? If so, I'm wondering what your thoughts are on how YOU would improve it
(knowing that each journal gets hundreds of papers submitted to it for publication.)
I have not been through the process. Although the last time I had a hypothesis examined by a "peer", she found all kinds of errors.
Some she was
right on, some I felt were biased personal opinions straight from the consensus point of view. The part in bold. This is one of the cruxes of the
problem, is it not? And one of the reasons I made my statement in the OP that:
In all fairness to those involved in the review process, I must also mention that many of these academics are not paid for their time reviewing other
peoples work. They can easily become inundated with requests for reviews.
Add to that, every bit of time they spend reviewing other peoples work, is less time they have to spend on their own interests and work.
They can't publish them all, and picking the ones to publish based on "did the authors attend important schools" or "what else have the authors
published" is a really lousy way to do it, IMHO.
Yes it is. But when you're looking at days worth of reviewing time. I can only imagine someone thinking "how can I weed out some of this, and lessen
this mountain staring me in the face?"
Everything I've read, which has been quite a lot now, tells me there isn't an easy fix to the process. The best that can be hoped for, in my opinion
only, is a refinement of the best parts of the process. Not that there aren't problems with that too.
First off, the reviewer(s) should be compensated for their time.
Second, trimming down the subjective factor. I realize it's always going to be there to some degree, but I think there are ways to lessen its
Each paper on it's own merits. The reviewer doesn't need to know the authors name, or their background. Nor do they need to know the publication it is
being reviewed for. Which rules out friends and aquaintances of the editor, and prejudiced reviews based on the bias of the publication itself.
Third. Reviewers should have guidelines established, and personal opinions should be noted as such. I would like to say reviewers should be certified
by a board. But I think we both know that won't help the process. Those who overseer my field have done a lousy job of establishing a certification
process that ensures those certified know what the hell they are doing when turned loose on the public.
The above ideas are brief notes I made to myself while reading. I don't have all the answers either. To be honest, I'm not so sure fixing the process
is the whole answer. We improve what we can, and stop having unrealistic expectations of the reviewer, and the "process".
The problem is, so many who are not scientists, or academics, like myself (I'm self-employed, and I consult, as well as fix problems for consumers and
businesses relating to computers and Audio-visual.) rely on peer review as something akin to the "good housekeeping" seal of approval. However, the
more I read, and talk to a few folks I know, the more I have found that isn't what it is at all.
Too much has been made of peer review to the public. And not enough measures have been taken among academia to insure that good theories don't slip
and fall through the cracks, because of the faults and limitations of the review process.
Erm... they do. It's the "letters to the editor" section (no, I'm not kidding.) And I've seen some real scream-fests in them as well as at conferences
(that's the other place where the audience really will jump on problematic papers.)
Excellent point, and something I hadn't even considered. Evidently, those on ATS who see peer-review as the gospel, don't read those letters, or go to
I sincerely appreciate your input into this thread. I know it was lengthy, and not the most cohesive, but I'm glad you read it, and added your
thoughts. Looking forward to more if you're so inclined. If not,
edit on 2/19/2013 by Klassified because: (no reason given)