Sunday, 7 February 2010

Climate Change and Open Peer Review

The fuss about allegedly suspect data emanating from the East Anglia University Climatic Research Unit and the 'theft' of emails from the unit by people who object to their basic message continues to reverberate in a largely suspicious media( ). It has already been suggested that a greater reliance on 'open peer review' might help validate the science ( It might be of benefit but I don't think it's a panacea. I have edited an International journal for more than 36 years that has always used peer review (but without generally revealing the reviewer's names to the authors- so it's not really 'open'). I have to admit that I tend to choose referees who I think might know something of the area covered by the submitted manuscript (these are likely to include friends or competitors of the authors). When I receive reviews that differ in their recommendations, I also tend to take more notice of people who I know or whose views I value. Open peer review can involve the authors nominating reviewers which seems to me potentially incestuous. Papers processed in this way are more reliable than those not undergoing proper review but errors can still be perpetuated. Perhaps open peer review has a similar standing to science as Churchill's quote about democracy, namely that "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Seeing the Changes 1470

Traveller's joy ( Clematis vitalba ) in flower in Loughor.