Came across this interesting article in the NeuroLogica blog today. Goes into the ups and downs of peer review and asks if the current system is broken, or just needs to be updated. As much as we rely on peer review to vet our sources, understand the science and technology in the world, and basically use it as a way to make sure that we're not just fooling ourselves or falling victim to bad science/bad research, I figured this might be something that we, as a group of nerds and geeks, may want to discuss. Nothing really to debunk, this thread is specifically about opinions of and about the peer review process.
Fully article: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/faking-peer-review/#commentsFaking Peer-Review
Published by Steven Novella under General Science
I think we just have to face it – humans are cheaters. It’s in our nature.
We are also complex social creatures. The result, according to psychological research, is that most people will engage in small cheats if given the chance and they think they will get away with it. Various studies show, for example, that 75-98% of high-school and college students cheat at least once during their careers.
This makes sense given that we evolved in a resource-limited situation. There was an ever present real risk of starving to death, and so the willingness and ability to sneak a little extra food from the group would have had a distinct survival advantage.
At the same time there was a survival advantage to defending oneself against cheating, and living in groups meant that the group could defend against cheating using social pressure. Humans are therefore conflicted – we want to cheat but we feel bad about it because we also have a feeling of disgust toward cheating in order to pressure others into not cheating. We feel guilty and fear the shame of getting caught. When you balance all these things out, most people will cheat a little when they can get away with it. Those who cheat more are better at rationalizing their own cheating. Increased cheating may also result from greater pressure to perform, overcoming the social pressures against cheating.
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