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Dallas, Texas, United States

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.