Does Peer Review Lead to Excellence in Scholarship?

uTN Social - Free Speech Social Media

Academics who have written papers usually get no credit for them unless they are published in “peer reviewed” journals. Supposedly, that filters out poor work.

But does it actually work that way? In today’s Martin Center article, Richard Phelps argues that the peer-review process is not reliable. The incentives for reviewers to do insightful work are almost nonexistent, and the opportunities for them to wreak havoc for ideological reasons are numerous.

Advertisement

Phelps begins with a personal example, a manuscript of his that was buffeted by reviewer comments about “tone” and other petty complaints.

“Few of my manuscript submissions to education journals,” Phelps continues, “have been reviewed substantively. For those familiar with Paul Graham’s hierarchy of disagreement, the reviews tend to lack a refutation of the central point, refutation in general, or counterargument. Instead, most consist of responding to (perceived) tone or being ad hominem (even anonymously) attacks.”

NR Daily is delivered right to you every afternoon. No charge.

Get Jim Geraghty’s tour of the political news of the day.

Get Kevin D. Williamson’s newsletter delivered to your inbox each Tuesday.

A weekly digest on business and economics from an NR sensibility.

Top-notch scholars are usually too busy to bother with reviewing, so the task falls mainly to young ones, who increasingly use their reviews to do hatchet jobs.

The peer-review system has become very corrupt, Phelps argues: “University and faculty raters construct their metrics in part from peer review results. Gaming these metrics corrupts the process with fake co-authors or reviews, citation cartels, co-citation agreements between journals or universities, reviewer- or editor-coerced citations, or purchased citations or by-lines.”

A better system, he suggests, would be for scholars to publish first and then allow people to comment, and not anonymously.

Phelps concludes, “We may forget, however, that citation and publication numbers are not supposed to be ends in themselves but, rather, just proxies for adding useful and accurate information to society’s store of knowledge. Society might be better served by fewer scholarly journals publishing fewer articles that have been much more widely and thoroughly vetted.”

Recommended


An Olympic Weightlifter Speaks Out on the Participation of Transgender Athletes in Women’s Sports

There are two sides to every story, and Tracey Lambrechs is here to tell the other.


American Men Suffer a Friendship Recession

American men have fewer friends than in decades past. We should dedicate time to fostering friendships. They provide an immediate and enduring reward.


Lindsey Graham Is an Idiot

Democrats are treating the infrastructure and reconciliation bills as linked, and so should Republicans and everybody else.


The Problems with Laurel Hubbard’s Qualifying for the Olympics as a Woman

The New Zealand weightlifter, who was born and competed as a male, has clear advantages over female competitors.


A Grad Student Tried to Correct a Misleading COVID Narrative. Rebekah Jones Tried to Ruin His Career for It

Jon Taylor had a disagreement with Jones over COVID data, so she falsely accused him of sexual harassment.


The Breaking of Stephen Colbert

The demands of nightly doses of craven partisanship for year upon year have ruined him.

The Latest


Democrats’ New Amnesty Gambit

Using a slim Senate majority to ram through a momentous change to immigration policy is a destructive idea.


Conservatives Are Hardly the Ones Waging a War on Campuses

A response to the Washington Post.


Casanova and His Female Counterparts, in Benoit Jacquot’s Latest

A very French filmmaker inquires into the #MeToo movement.


The IMF Wins Big at the G-20 in Venice

But will the countries it purportedly seeks to help?


Cuba and us, &c.

On the nearby dictatorship; China and Russia; the GOP; Edwin Edwards; a D-Day vet; and more.


Convincing the Skeptics

Vaccine resisters can’t be persuaded if they feel disrespected.

Top Stories

Get our conservative analysis delivered right to you. No charge.


Most Popular


The Kids Are Not Alright: Chaos at the College Republican National Committee


The Kids Are Not Alright: Chaos at the College Republican National Committee

College Republican chapters all over the country claim they are being disenfranchised by a president seeking to consolidate power.


Biden’s Executive Order Moves the U.S. One Step Closer to Rule by Decree


Biden’s Executive Order Moves the U.S. One Step Closer to Rule by Decree

This executive order appears to have been drafted in a way that treats the independence of these agencies as something that is purely nominal.


Jen Psaki Just Escalated the Conservative War with Big Tech


Jen Psaki Just Escalated the Conservative War with Big Tech

If Facebook is colluding with the government to suppress speech, it becomes much harder rhetorically to hide behind the ‘private company’ defense.


View More

Read More Feedzy

The Foxhole App - Trusted News Podcasts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *