Scientific Peer Review: Bad Idea

June 14, 2008

An article in The Financial Times points to the growing criticism of the peer review process.  If you don’t know, peer simply review means that specialists in the field determine what research gets funded and what results get published.  The problem is these peers have agendas, egos, vested interests and jealousies that add up to make scientific research, innovation, and discovery itself political.  And when politics and science meet, science always loses.   We need to find ways to encourage and incentivize challenges to orthodoxy.  That’s why the  Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is creating a new grant process that bypasses peer review, and scientists are increasingly publishing directly to online outlets like “Case Reports.”  These are encouraging developments which should be praised and supported.

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