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The Sciences

On Peer Review

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorFebruary 1, 2012 11:43 PM


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Savage Minds reminds me of Ed Carr's commentary on peer review from late December. (Carr is a geographer who I interviewed recently for Yale Environment 360.) Here is a provocative excerpt from his post:

I have found peer review to often function as a means of policing new ideas, slowing the flow of innovative ideas into academia not because the ideas are unsupported, but because these ideas and findings run contrary to previously-accepted ideas upon which many reviewers might have done their work. This byzantine politics of peer review is not well-understood by those outside the academic tent, and does little to improve our public image.

I can't speak to this, since I don't publish peer reviewed articles. Anecdotally, I have heard complaints of groupthink from some anthropologists and archaeologists. Readers of this blog who are keyed into the climate wars will naturally project their own biases onto Carr's experience. But I seriously doubt that he had climate science in mind when he was writing his post. Rather, his commentary is aimed at breaking down the "walls of academia," in general.

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