The Peer-Review Trap

Congress got to the bottom of the NASA Challenger scandal by bringing in outside experts from a wide range of disciplines.

With the climate scandal, they take a different approach. They insist that all experts are scandal insiders. Some skeptics have gotten sucked into their peer-review trap, which slows them down and makes them beholden to the very people behind the scam.

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13 Responses to The Peer-Review Trap

  1. It is a pathetic trap. One would have to trace how old the ‘skeptic scientists don’t put out peer-reviewed papers’ talking point is and see who invented it, but the answer that skeptic scientists do put out such material only deflates the talking point just a little bit, when a more complete answer is more effective when you point out that peer-review has NEVER been the absolute validator for science conclusions. Witness the wipeout of the peer-reviewed one about anti-oxidants: “Researcher Who Studied Benefits Of Red Wine Falsified Data Says University”

    The talking point has to be identified as what it was always intended to be, a device to distract the larger public away from seeing how skeptic scientists offer plausible, potentially devastating criticism of IPCC reports.

    • GWS says:

      Good point! Another point is to note how leftists love to group together and create important sounding organizations, then peer review each others papers, and miraculously you have “experts” with “peer reviewed” credentials. Conservatives don’t group up like this, don’t play that game, and thus get dismissed for not being authoritative enough.

  2. taiger says:

    this is so funny. you understand nothing about peer review within the scientific community. brilliant! you are proving the points the rational world is making about climate deniers. and conservatives don’t group up???? whaaaaattt?? Are you high?

    American Conservative Union
    Americans for Prosperity
    Campaign for Working Families
    Can Do Conservatives
    Christian Action Network
    Citizens United Political Victory Fund
    Concerned Women for America
    Conservative Congress
    DC Works For US
    Eagle Forum
    Heritage Action for America
    Keep America Safe
    Legion for the Survival of Freedom, Inc. (formerly Liberty Lobby)
    Liberty Central
    Republican Majority Campaign PAC
    Right March
    The John Birch Society
    The New American
    The Tea Party Leadership Fund
    Traditional Values Coalition
    and on and on and on …..

    Please try and think before you comment… the blog is bad enough.

  3. taiger says:

    quite the replies, men. well done.

  4. Gail Combs says:

    taiger says: @ June 25, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    this is so funny. you understand nothing about peer review within the scientific community….
    OH good grief, Your just showed your abysmal ignorance of ‘Modern grant driven Science’

    Peer-review has degenerated to nothing but an “Old Boys Club” many scientists complain about it bitterly and it certainly has not stopped absolute CRAP from being published. Actually it has made SURE absolute CRAP gets published.

    I would dig out my long list of links of scientific fraud but I don’t want to have to disturb Steve and have him fish this comment out of moderation so here are just two.

    US scientists significantly more likely to publish fake research, study finds
    Date: November 17, 2010
    Source: BMJ-British Medical Journal

    How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research?

    …A pooled weighted average of 1.97% (N = 7, 95%CI: 0.86–4.45) of scientists admitted to have fabricated, falsified or modified data or results at least once –a serious form of misconduct by any standard– and up to 33.7% admitted other questionable research practices. In surveys asking about the behaviour of colleagues, admission rates were 14.12% (N = 12, 95% CI: 9.91–19.72) for falsification, and up to 72% for other questionable research practices. Meta-regression showed that self reports surveys, surveys using the words “falsification” or “fabrication”, and mailed surveys yielded lower percentages of misconduct. When these factors were controlled for, misconduct was reported more frequently by medical/pharmacological researchers than others.

    Considering that these surveys ask sensitive questions and have other limitations, it appears likely that this is a conservative estimate of the true prevalence of scientific misconduct.

  5. Gail Combs says:

    BTW I am not the only one who has noticed CRAP gets published.

    From the Philadelphia Inquirer, March 23, 1982.

    Plain Prose: It’s Seldom Seen in Journals
    by Dick Pothier

    If you want to publish an article in some scientific or medical journal, here is some unusual advice from Scott Armstrong, a professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School: Choose an unimportant topic. Agree with existing beliefs. Use convoluted methods. Withhold some of your data. And write the whole thing in stilted, obtuse prose.

    Armstrong, who is the editor of a new research publication called the Journal of Forecasting, offered the advice in a serious, scholarly article last month in the journal’s first issue. He said yesterday that he had studied the publication process in research journals for years.

    “Although these rules clearly run counter to the goal of contributing to scientific knowledge — the professed goal of academic journals — they do increase a paper’s chance of being published,” Armstrong said….

    In one study, Armstrong said, academics reading articles in scientific journals rated the authors’ competence higher when the writing was less intelligible than when it was clear.

    In another study, Armstrong said, research papers were mailed to a sampling of dozens of researchers. Half the scientists received a paper that described an experiment confirming existing beliefs; the other half received a paper describing an identical experiment but with a different conclusion that challenged the consensus.

    Although the methods used in the two sets of papers were identical, the scientists surveyed generally approved of the procedures used in the papers that confirmed existing beliefs and generally disapproved of the same methods when they were used to contradict what most scientists believed, Armstrong said.

    “Papers with surprising results are especially important for adding significantly to what is known. Presumably, the editors of journals want to publish important papers,” Armstrong said. “On the other hand, they are concerned that the journal might look foolish — and so they reject many of the important papers.”

    For young academics who wish to be published in such journals, Armstrong said, “the factors that would seem to be a deadly combination would be choosing an important problem and obtaining surprising results.”

    Other studies, Armstrong said, indicate that obscure writing helps those who have little to say. And having little to say may also be an advantage, especially if the author withholds some significant data. “This will allow the researcher to continue publishing slightly different versions of the same research,” which Armstrong says is a common practice….

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