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Steve Liberati
01-06-2007, 07:29 AM
This may sound like a silly question but what exactly does it mean when someone uses a peer-review scientific journal as a frame of reference? I'm guessing its self-explanatory in the sense medical doctors and scientists review and approve the statement as valid, but is the peer-reviewed journal the end-all to end-all? Does peer-reviewed contentions ultimately refute any counter arguments and act as the highest form of validity?

Steve Shafley
01-06-2007, 07:38 AM
In short, no.

Peer review often means "mob rule"

Pierre Auge
01-06-2007, 02:43 PM
Essentially if I write something supid and Steve says yeah thats pretty stupid but funny. Then its been peer reviewed and i am now an expert on whatever stupid thing I just wrote!;) :D

Mike ODonnell
01-06-2007, 04:48 PM
Pierre did write something stupid....peer reviewed again. :)

Dave Van Skike
01-06-2007, 05:17 PM
Pierre did write something stupid....peer reviewed again. :)

True peer review requires that you have a spectrum of opinions. As in..I say. Steve was simplistic, Pierre's was just wrong and Mike piled on. Now that, is peer review.


Actually, peer review is a good deal more than mob rule. Peer review does not mean something is right but it adds a huge measure of credibility in that someone put their hat into the ring, published their assumptions and let their community of experts rip them apart.

"the process of peer review is considered critical to establishing a reliable body of research and knowledge. Scholars reading the published articles can only be expert in a limited area; they rely to some degree on the peer-review process to provide reliable and credible research that they can build upon for subsequent or related research."

I look at peer review as a benchmark like competition.

You may say you can squat 500 in your basement. That's cool. If you do it on a platform with white lights all around that's cooler. The 500 pounds didn't change, your willingness to put it out there did.

Pierre Auge
01-06-2007, 05:22 PM
Dave I was just being an ass... I apologize my humour was not constructive in the least. Nor funny!

Steve Shafley
01-06-2007, 06:14 PM
Low carb diets, for example, were a victim of mob-rule peer review.

Steve Shafley
01-06-2007, 06:15 PM
Pierre:

I have reviewed your statements and concur.

Pierre Auge
01-06-2007, 06:27 PM
Steve, ok but that was funny ;)

Steve Shafley
01-06-2007, 07:07 PM
Oh, I was agreeing to the first one.

In my experience, scientists often have communication deficits, and PhDs and MDs in particular seem to be permanently welded to a certain frame of reference and belief system.

Dave Van Skike
01-06-2007, 08:50 PM
Dave I was just being an ass... I apologize my humour was not constructive in the least. Nor funny!

Sometimes being and ass is the most constructive thing one can do.....

no offense taken. I'm not arguing to far in favor of peer review. Over-reliance on peer review as a benchmark gives us such brilliant offerings as quackwatch.com. The founder of which is if not a quack, at least a twit.

Neal Winkler
01-07-2007, 02:50 PM
The peer reviewed process is good in that it keeps any old idiot from getting his opinion out, but it's bad in that it can stifle creavity, and questioning of the status quo.

Robb Wolf
01-09-2007, 08:06 AM
I looked around for an article in JAMA a few years ago talking about the limitations of the peer review system. It is not as rock solid as ti appears. The low carb debacle is just one example.

I worked in a lab that really could only publish in a couple of journals. One of the review committee was...drum roll...in a competing lab. We could never prove that it was this guy who nit-picked that crap out of our papers but it slowed our submissions and publishing significantly. It's not to say it's worthless but the peer review process can be much more about politics than science. Remember when folate became "super important" to prevent everything from neural tube deficits to heart disease? The guy who did the pioneering research on that did it in the late 60's!!! He was run out of I think it was harvard and he had to beg, borrow and steal lab time for nearly 35 years before he was vindicated. all because his findings did not square with what peer review thought should happen. Extreme example but that stuff does happen.