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The Power, Perils and
Pitfalls of Peer Review in
Public
Philip Moriarty
School of Physics & Astronomy
University of Nottin...
The day job
Single atom/bond
imaging, positioning
and spectroscopy
“Sloppy science is a larger evil
than research misconduct”
Lex Bouter, WCRI-2015
“…large underestimation of the
importance...
Letter from Prof. Adrian
Sutton, Imperial College
London in last month’s
Physics World
Outright fraud gets through the net
Nano ‘chopsticks’…
…or painfully poor Photoshopping?
http://archiv.ethlife.ethz.ch/images/scientificfraud-l.jpg
The unsettling Schon case
Faulty rather than fraudulent
Key importance of
‘iconography’ and
imagery in modern
scientific ‘story-telling’
Headline tr...
Traditional publishers very often not
interested in correcting scientific record…
Traditional peer review is slow and archaic
PubPeer and the role of PPPR
Post- and pre-publication peer review
Rise of the cyber-bullies?
http://physicsfocus.org/philip-moriarty-peer-
review-cyber-bullies/
Faceless…fearless…vitriolic?
Anonymous?
The Gish Gallop in Scientific Debate
http://therefusers.com/refusers-newsroom/fda-official-clinical-trial-system-is-
broken-bmj/#.Uw2tVPl_vGI
Faulty or fraudul...
The Dark Side of PublishingThe Dark Side of Publishing
In a nutshell: taxpayer
funds us to do research;
we publish; and
ta...
Elsevier and The Cost of Knowledge
Tim Gowers (Cambridge
mathematician) set up a
boycott of Elsevier.
>15,000 signed up to...
RIN/CEPA: 2011 Houghton: 2009
First copy £1,261 50% Article processing £1,234 46%
Variable £581 23% Other fixed and
variab...
https://alexholcombe.wordpress.com/2013/01/09
/scholarly-publishers-and-their-high-profits/
So why don’t we just publishSo why don’t we just publish
everything in Open Accesseverything in Open Access
journalsjourna...
We pay for the brand
The “statistical illiteracy” of impact factors
Re-evaluate how we evaluate
RD Vale, Mo le cular Bio lo g y o f the Ce ll23 3285 (2012)
…and flaws in the literature are not an SEP
“An SEP is so m e thing we can’t se e , o r do n’t
se e , o r o ur brain do e ...
“It’s definitely a duck”
http://imgur.com/gallery/1BXxi
The Power, Perils and Pitfalls of Peer Review in Public
The Power, Perils and Pitfalls of Peer Review in Public
The Power, Perils and Pitfalls of Peer Review in Public
The Power, Perils and Pitfalls of Peer Review in Public
The Power, Perils and Pitfalls of Peer Review in Public
The Power, Perils and Pitfalls of Peer Review in Public
The Power, Perils and Pitfalls of Peer Review in Public
The Power, Perils and Pitfalls of Peer Review in Public
The Power, Perils and Pitfalls of Peer Review in Public
The Power, Perils and Pitfalls of Peer Review in Public
The Power, Perils and Pitfalls of Peer Review in Public
The Power, Perils and Pitfalls of Peer Review in Public
The Power, Perils and Pitfalls of Peer Review in Public
The Power, Perils and Pitfalls of Peer Review in Public
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The Power, Perils and Pitfalls of Peer Review in Public

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Presentation at the 4th World Conference on Research Integrity, Rio de Janeiro, June 1 2015.

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The Power, Perils and Pitfalls of Peer Review in Public

  1. 1. The Power, Perils and Pitfalls of Peer Review in Public Philip Moriarty School of Physics & Astronomy University of Nottingham www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano @Moriarty2112 http://physicsfocus.org/author/philipmoriarty/
  2. 2. The day job Single atom/bond imaging, positioning and spectroscopy
  3. 3. “Sloppy science is a larger evil than research misconduct” Lex Bouter, WCRI-2015 “…large underestimation of the importance of fear” Brian Martinson, WCRI-2015
  4. 4. Letter from Prof. Adrian Sutton, Imperial College London in last month’s Physics World
  5. 5. Outright fraud gets through the net
  6. 6. Nano ‘chopsticks’…
  7. 7. …or painfully poor Photoshopping?
  8. 8. http://archiv.ethlife.ethz.ch/images/scientificfraud-l.jpg The unsettling Schon case
  9. 9. Faulty rather than fraudulent Key importance of ‘iconography’ and imagery in modern scientific ‘story-telling’ Headline trumps rigour.
  10. 10. Traditional publishers very often not interested in correcting scientific record…
  11. 11. Traditional peer review is slow and archaic
  12. 12. PubPeer and the role of PPPR
  13. 13. Post- and pre-publication peer review
  14. 14. Rise of the cyber-bullies? http://physicsfocus.org/philip-moriarty-peer- review-cyber-bullies/
  15. 15. Faceless…fearless…vitriolic?
  16. 16. Anonymous?
  17. 17. The Gish Gallop in Scientific Debate
  18. 18. http://therefusers.com/refusers-newsroom/fda-official-clinical-trial-system-is- broken-bmj/#.Uw2tVPl_vGI Faulty or fraudulent, how do we fix things?
  19. 19. The Dark Side of PublishingThe Dark Side of Publishing In a nutshell: taxpayer funds us to do research; we publish; and taxpayer then has to pay exorbitant prices to read results of research the y’ve funded. 10 % of QR funding on journal subscriptions (i.e. ~ £100M per year!!) [Publishing industry has huge vested interest in REF] c.f. arXiv -- $400K per annum; 10% of QR ~ £100M on journal subs! See telescoper.wordpress.com and http://occamstypewriter.org/scurry/ for lots of information on Open Access
  20. 20. Elsevier and The Cost of Knowledge Tim Gowers (Cambridge mathematician) set up a boycott of Elsevier. >15,000 signed up to this. “Else vie r and Spring e r as we llas a num be r o f o the r co m m e rcial publishe rs alle xplo it o ur vo lunte e r labo ur to e xtract ve ry larg e pro fits fro m the acade m ic co m m unity” [Profit margins estimated at 20% - 30%] “ Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of Nature,  estimates his journal's internal costs at  £20,000–30,000 ($30,000–40,000) per paper”
  21. 21. RIN/CEPA: 2011 Houghton: 2009 First copy £1,261 50% Article processing £1,234 46% Variable £581 23% Other fixed and variable £1,007 37% Indirect £666 27% Management and investment £455 17% Total cost £2,508 100% Total cost £2,696 100% Profit/surplus £586 19% Profit/surplus £552 17% Total incl. profit/surplus £3,095 Total incl. profit/surplus £3,247 What?! £20,000 per paper ?What?! £20,000 per paper ? Really ?
  22. 22. https://alexholcombe.wordpress.com/2013/01/09 /scholarly-publishers-and-their-high-profits/
  23. 23. So why don’t we just publishSo why don’t we just publish everything in Open Accesseverything in Open Access journalsjournals (e.g. Beilstein J. Nanotech.)(e.g. Beilstein J. Nanotech.) oror on “arXiV 2.0”?on “arXiV 2.0”?
  24. 24. We pay for the brand
  25. 25. The “statistical illiteracy” of impact factors
  26. 26. Re-evaluate how we evaluate RD Vale, Mo le cular Bio lo g y o f the Ce ll23 3285 (2012)
  27. 27. …and flaws in the literature are not an SEP “An SEP is so m e thing we can’t se e , o r do n’t se e , o r o ur brain do e sn’t le t us se e , be cause we think that it’s so m e bo dy e lse ’s pro ble m … . The brain just e dits it o ut, it’s like a blind spo t” Publication represents the start, not the end, of debate.
  28. 28. “It’s definitely a duck” http://imgur.com/gallery/1BXxi

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