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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Peer Review is Not Scientific

E Price
Originally published June 18, 2018

Here are two excerpts:

The first thing I want all lovers of science to know is this: peer-reviewers are not paid. When you are contacted by a journal editor and asked to conduct a review, there is no discussion of payment, because no payment is available. Ever. Furthermore, peer reviewing is not associated in any direct way with the actual job of being a professor or researcher. The person asking you to conduct a peer review is not your supervisor or the chair of your department, in nearly any circumstance. Your employer does not keep track of how many peer reviews you conduct and reward you appropriately.

Instead, you’re asked by journal editors, via email, on a voluntary basis. And it’s up to you, as a busy faculty member, graduate student, post-doc, or adjunct, to decide whether to say yes or not.

The process is typically anonymized, and tends to be relatively thankless — no one except the editor who has asked you to conduct the review will know that you were involved in the process. There is no quota of reviews a faculty member is expected to provide. Providing a review cannot really be placed on your resume or CV in any meaningful way.


The level of scrutiny that an article is subjected to all comes down to chance. If you’re assigned a reviewer who created a theory that opposes your own theory, your work is likely to be picked apart. The reviewer will look very closely for flaws and take issue with everything that they can. This is not inherently a bad thing — research should be closely reviewed — but it’s not unbiased either.

The information is here.