02 February 2010

Anonymity doesn’t make science better

A group of stem cell researchers are claiming that there is a group of scientists who are impeding publication on stem cell research. Maybe. Maybe not. I wanted to comment on this quote (emphasis added):

Commenting on the allegations, Monica Bradford, executive editor of Science, another major journal, said: “Our current policy is to preserve the confidentiality of reviewers’ names and comments. Some journals have tried experiments to test the impact of open review on the quality of the feedback received through peer review.(”)

Anonymity is a problem; see previous post here. Keep peer review, but actually have people own up to what they write, so we can see if there’s a shadowy cabal of researchers controlling the discipline or not.

It’s ironic that one of the bigger fights in scientific publishing is about open access for the papers, open archiving of the data, but the actual review process remains out of view, not only of the public, but of the scientists themselves.

Additional: Here’s the letter from the scientists complaining about review practices.

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