Peer Review — Or Scant Review?

Those who are wondering how the stem cell scandal could possibly have occured (the apparently-falsified study appeared in the respected journal Science, after all!) should read this poston the Climate Audit blog.

Some excerpts:

It is unheard of for a peer reviewer to actually check the data and calculations. In 2004, I was asked by a journal… to peer review an article. I asked to see the source code and supporting calculations. The editor said that no one had ever asked for such things in 28 years of his editing the journal. He refused to ask for source code; the author refused to provide supporting calculations…

I’ve found that scientists strongly resent any attempt to verify their results. One of the typical reactions is: don’t check our studies, do your own study. I don’t think that businesses like being checked either, but one of the preconditions of being allowed to operate is that they are checked. Many of the most highly paid professionals in our society – securities lawyers, auditors – earn much of their income simply by verifying other people’s results…

Read it all. You will never feel the same when you hear the words “peer reviewed” again.

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