blind peer review (ScienceOpen)

I just wrote this email to someone asking for comments on ScienceOpen.  It's not about ScienceOpen in particular though.


I already agreed to review for a site like this some years ago. It was disastrous and humiliating for me, the editor & the author. The first paper they gave me was from someone in industry who was well known but assumed no one in academia had ever really tried to solve AI. He was butt ignorant of the academic side of the field. I wrote an honest review and signed my name to it. The "journal" folded within a year, and the editor and I have agreed we would never, ever be involved in such a thing again.

Double blind is open to corruption and thus requires strong, smart, informed editors that recognise & combat cabals & bullying. But it's far better than letting the general public see the ignorance that is sometimes foisted as science, even by scientists. Look at what happened when the press got ahold of the crappy low-N retrospective studies that claimed that MMR caused autism (UK) or abortion caused breast cancer (USA). No amount of explaining that these results were not replicable got them out of the public where they continue to destroy people's lives. Why lower the bar even further?

The war against science is being fought on a lot of fronts. There are terrible peer reviewed articles, like this one about schizophrenia as possession https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23269538 But that doesn't mean we should replace it with something even more subject to fashion and ignorance. I fully support and applaud having more peer review / public comments and discussion after publication. But we still need (preferably double) blind peer review in advance of publication – in advance of publicly calling something "science".
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