Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Peer Screwed

Today I heard a story about how some scientists deliberately planted an error in a draft paper to throw off the research of competing scientists who they knew would steal the information during the peer review publication process. In reading the history of science, I know of a number of famous cases where proper credit was not given where due for ideas taken from papers blocked or delayed for publication. I recently conceived of a pithy saying for this which I wanted to share with you:

Peer Reviewed is Peer Screwed.

The peer review system is flawed in that your peers are your jealous competitors, not fair and impartial judges of scientific merit. Instead of publishing, consider patenting. Patents permit you to publish your knowledge to the world with the patent agent serving as the unbiased reviewer to determine whether the invention is actually novel, useful, and nonobvious.

If your idea does not qualify as an invention, you can always self-publish it to your personal website. I am proud enough of the above non-invention to have added it to my webpage of quotes.

Update 2010 Oct 08 Fri

I just learned of a new trend toward Open Peer Review which might fix some of the problems in the peer review process as traditionally practiced.


Heather said...

I've often wondered about this as I do research for school. As a daydream of developing some new economic or political science theory, I wonder how trustworthy my peers would be, especially since I'm unknown and unpublished to-date. I've heard of some economic theories that were introduced in a conference-type setting (with witnesses), but most are just peer-reviewed publications...

Johnny said...

C’mon Dave. I defy you to say what you REALLY think:

“The peer review system is flawed because you can’t sue your way around or out of it…”

Good luck on your dissertation defense with that attitude. Maybe you can bring your lawyer. Just plead the Fifth if it gets to be too much for ya’.

Imposing your thinly veiled dogma on Joe Sixpack is one thing…

(Ooooooooh! A PhD candidate! Fancy!)

…imposing it on the actual scientific community might prove to be a sumbitch.

The rest of your blog seemed kind of naked. Maybe you can get the Dallas Morning News on the Vast Right-Wing Peer Review Conspiracy and get some hits!

Yours in Christ (*smirk*),

Johnny Undercover, Voltaire of Common Sense (Patent Pending)