Gavin Menzies and Dr. Tim Ball – Examining Peer Review

by on April 22, 2010      

in Academia, Science & Technology

Gavin Menzies

Gavin Menzies

Peer review was established to ensure quality and accuracy of academic research and publications. As one university library tells students,

“Peer review ensures that an article—and therefore the journal and the scholarship of the discipline as a whole—maintains a high standard of quality, accuracy, and academic integrity. When you consult peer-reviewed sources, you are tapping into a wealth of established, verified knowledge.”

Does this mean non-peer reviewed materials have no value? What happens if academics refuse to peer review? Are they the only arbiters of quality and accuracy?

Dr. Tim Ball

Dr. Tim Ball

Few people outside of academia know what peer review is or how it operates. Like most ideas and methods, peer review has evolved from its original purpose in ways that academics never anticipated – for example, the scandals involving climate science and the perversion of scientific and academic method. While peer review has mostly been thought of as the way ideas get their credibility, in fact, peer review has become an incestuous system that often invites corruption and territoriality so that most of the realm of new discoveries can’t make their way to the world. The peer review process is often antithetical to innovation and perpetuates prevailing knowledge. We need a new and better process and paradigm because of the implications for the betterment of all of society.

Gavin Menzies, the author of 1421 and 1434 and Dr. Tim Ball, a climatologist, teacher, and writer from Canada, lay out what we need to know about peer review to think of other ways of empowering discovery in the modern world.