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The Sciences

Peer Review Takes Another Hit

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJanuary 7, 2011 12:57 AM


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But I view this recurring issue the same way I view revelations of juiced baseball players: Yeah, it happens, and it sullies the game, but not nearly enough to make me consider stop watching baseball. In other words, has the use of steroids fatally compromised the sport? No. So there's two ways to look at this NYT story about an ESP study getting published in a prominent journal: 1) Proof positive, as some well known climate scientists have asserted in the last year, that crap science can always find its way into a scientific journal. 2) Proof positive, as some climate science critics have asserted in the last year, that peer review is corrupted. There is, of course, a third view, that is more nuanced (and which those in the first category would wholeheartedly agree):

Peer review is flawed but the best we've got

Then there is this tongue-in-cheek, sky-is-falling perspective. But those of us who love baseball (or any sport) or politics the way we love science know that there's always going to be cracks in the system that can be exploited. And when that happens, "sunlight," as a U.S. Supreme Court justice once famously said, "is the best disinfectant."

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