Friday, July 04, 2008

On the value of peer review

Just thought I'd post this comment that I excerpted from a message board. It discusses the value and limitations of the peer review process.

I don't think its the peer review that is the problem, but rather our perception of what it means.

Peer review is just a way of vetting an article to make sure it's not whacked out. The reviewers don't repeat experiments, recalculate all the data, etc.

Being published in a peer reviewed journal simple means that the author has made a respectable argument. Kinda of like a indictment.

The actual court case doesn't happen until after it's been published. When others may dispute the results, repeat the experiment, etc.

But the simple fact that the article has been published in a peer review journal does not make it inherently correct, just like being indicted for crime doesn't mean you are actually guilty.