Science magazine has published a blistering critique of the most sacred cow of scientific research, namely the peer review quality system. Unfortunately, Science doesn’t seem to have understood its own findings. It proclaims to have run a sting operation, written by ‘gonzo scientist’ John Bohannon, revealing the weaknesses of the relatively new publishing model we call open access. In fact, the Science article shows exactly the opposite of what it intended, namely that we need an even wider use of open access than the one we currently have.
The real problem for science today is quality control. Peer review has been at the heart of this, but there are too many failures – both in open access and traditional journals – simply to plod ahead with the same system. We need new approaches and numerous individuals and organisations are working on these, such as the open evaluation project.
The creative potential offered by digital communication of scientific results, an area in which open access journals are leading the way, is exactly where we need to focus. And if we do so, we will solve the problem of the broken peer review system that Science and the gonzo scientist have uncovered.
Read also: Who’s Afraid of Peer Review?