‘Peer Review’ has Collapsed as a Tool for Ensuring the Validity of Science


With so much government money flowing into ‘top-tier’ research universities, the peer-review process has virtually collapsed.

More observers are wakening to the fact that the ‘science’ which appears in high-level scholarly journals tends to favor government positions.

William A. Wilson, in an article entitled “Scientific Redress” in the current issue of First Things (see here) notes that:

If peer review is good at anything, it appears to be keeping unpopular ideas from being published.

What they do not mention is that once an entire field has been created—with careers, funding, appointments, and prestige all premised upon an experimental result which was utterly false due either to fraud or to plain bad luck—pointing this fact out is not likely to be very popular. Peer review switches from merely useless to actively harmful.

Wilson points to replicability studies from a group of cancer researchers. Only a dismal 11 percent of the preclinical cancer research they examined could be validated after the fact. And the “bad” papers that failed to replicate were, on average, cited far more often than the papers that did!

“The problem with ­science,” writes Wilson, “is that so much of it simply isn’t.”