Saturday, August 22, 2009

AWT and peer review

This post is motivated by recent discussion (1, 2) concerning the relevance of anonymous peer-review in specialized areas of physics. From general perspective (which I always recommend to consider at the first place) anonymous collectivistic approach leads to the lost of personal motivation (which lead to the fall of communism, BTW) and it slows down generation of new ideas. While too individualistic approach fragments science and it slows down acceptation of new ideas.

In addition, there is always bias given by fact, if we choose reviewer, whose scope of interests overlaps with scope of interest of author, it becomes biased due the possible conflict of interest or existence of personal coalition.

If we separate the scope of interests, we increase risk of incompetence of reviewer. This risk is the more pronounced, the more science becomes specialized - which effectively means, above some critical density of information peer-review process isn't effective anymore.

Now we are dealing with two dimensional matrix handling distance of scope of interest and anonymity of peer-review process. The possible solution is to add time dimension into matrix and to make whole process as transparent, as possible ex post. In my opinion the most effective approach would be to keep peer-review as blind, as possible. BUT after publishing of article, it's peer-review should become available together with names of reviewers.

Of course, here's an apparent limit in density of information again and from long term perspective, every source of information should be published with minimal delay despite the result of peer review.

8 comments:

El Cid said...

A curiosity:

Lubos has written that Sabine Hossenfelder is a crackpot, at a recent post :

... Not only the internet crackpots - the likes of "Marcus", "Peter Woit", "Sabine Hossenfelder", ...

HAHA, as a good taliban , Lubos usually beats to the women.

But, Who is she really?

Zephir said...

To be called a crackpot by Lubos is a sort of valuable appraisal of existing work, which becomed significant up to level, even Lubos has mentioned it. Mrs. Hossenfelder is renaissance personality, mathematician and artist, one of the most clever women in Germany by now. Don't be lazy and use Bink or Google.

Anonymous said...

Zeph = czech IDIOT !!

El Cid said...

Anonymous,

Maybe Zephir is completely wrong, but I think it's not necessary to resort to insult.

Zephir said...

No prob, he's just talking about some Zeph, not me...

El Cid said...

I don't understand to the people like Anonymous, I've tried that he wrote about his ideas but it's impossible. I think we could be wrong but this fact is not against the law. Is it?

Zephir said...

Anonymous is famous Czech troll Oldrich Klimanek, I know him quite well. He's freak in simmilar way, like Lubos Motl.

Zephir said...

"The peer-review system is the
most ludicrous system ever devised..."
 It is useless and does not make sense in dealing with science funding when history abounds with a plethora of examples that
indicate that the most important breakthroughs are impossible to foresee.
says Nobel laureate and furulene chemistry founder Sir
Harry Kroto