6 thoughts on “Sorry, lady… government scientists are just ordinary public servants — not a special class of human”

  1. It has always seemed to me that the peer review system is unfair in that the reviewer generally knows who the revewee is but not vice versa. Either neither party should be able to identify the other or both should know them.
    But peer review is really not the issue here. When the integrity of the research and analysis process on an issue of great importance to society is questioned, either a fully trusted party (if one can be found) should be able to examine the details or they should be laid bare for the public. I don’t buy the “chilling effect” argument. Scientists are assumed to be mature and if they deal with matters of great importance to society, particularly using government (i.e., our) money, they should be able to handle — even welcome– the scrutiny.

  2. “Rigorous peer-review processes remain the best defense against biased science.”

    Oh, that I wish it were true. We are in the midst of a science disaster where well over 50% of the claims made in science papers fail to replicate. In the area of human epidemiology the number is over 90%. In the area of experimental biology the number is 75-90%. Note the word “experimental”. All of these papers where the claims fail to replicate underwent “peer review”. Many appeared in the most highly rated journals.

    All this is well-known.

    For epidemiology, a case can be made that the problems were known as early as 1988, Feinstein, Science.
    There is no reason to think that scientists are any different than other people. They will collude for and against each other and the public.

    How widespread? We don’t know. I think it is not a few bad apples.

  3. Its like spitting into the wind… it is a useless exercise in futility, when these people attempt to justify something that is simply a power grab for control freaks. They should disband the EPA, IRS, and start over from scratch, with 1/16th or less of the present size and have only authority to recommend to congress any regulations.

  4. When money becomes important, all ethical considerations are under threat. Scientists, their employers, their publishers, and their reviewers are all vulnerable to financial undermining of their professionalism.
    The best scientists are those who have nothing to gain from incomplete disclosure, selective reporting of their work, reporting results that are not supportive of their sponsors’ desires, mendacious interpretations of their data, sensationalized conclusions, outright lying, etc.

  5. Some journals do practice “blind” reviewing. I’ve reviewed numerous papers for which I had no idea who the author was. Name is deleted from the paper, so I as a reviewer can’t be influenced by my opinion of the author. Likewise the author has no idea who reviewed his/her paper, so they can’t get back at me if they do’t like the review.

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