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More trouble with Peer Review – and prediction of the demise of the academic journal

April 12, 2012

I found a retweeted post from James C Coyne this moring, linking in to this article by Richard Smith, called “articles of faith”.  (Possibly behind pay-wall – but accessible through university). Richard Smith published a book called The trouble with Medical Journals back in 2006 (that is a link to – hopefully getting to the book.  And, if not, the title is still there).  In this book, he claims (I have not read it), he critizises the peer review and publishing system as deeply flawed.

He reiterates some of the issues in the article – undisclosed conflicts of interest, for example, and claim that they are yet to be dealt with.

He also discusses one of the flaws with using publishing in high-impact journals as a gauge.  There is reason to believe that this striving results in a bias, so that the results published in these journals are more eye-catching, but less reliable, and in the end biases the scientific fields.

He also thinks that the important peer-review is not the one prior to publishing, but should be focused on post-publishing.  This is where you start scrutinizing the results.

Also, he thinks the closed journals are nearing the end, as seems a lot of the businesses focused on publishing.  Well worth the read.

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