Nature2014-06-26 3:28 PM

同行压力是同行评审的一个组成部分 Modelling the effects of subjective and objective decision making in scientific peer review

论文摘要 

科学通过思想的传播以及随后对这些思想的捍卫或批评(通常以同行评审的形式进行)来发展变化。Marcus Munafò及同事采用模拟研究来探讨当所涉及的研究人员完全致力于知识的进步时和当其他外在因素影响决定时(即需要做出相反的客观和主观决定时)同行评审过程是怎样进行的。他们发现,科学家的行为可能会受到从他们同辈的行为收集到的信息的影响,甚至被后者所支配。例如,对一篇文章进行投稿的决定,可能会由以前所发表的内容来决定,而独立于科学家的个人观点。这种现象(被称为“随大流”)有一个固有的风险,即在某些情况下人们会专注于一个不正确的答案。然而矛盾的是,审稿人所做决定的主观程度会有利于对可获得的信息进行处理、以便对真实情况做出更准确的估计。

Abstract 

The objective of science is to advance knowledge, primarily in two interlinked ways: circulating ideas, and defending or criticizing the ideas of others. Peer review acts as the gatekeeper to these mechanisms. Given the increasing concern surrounding the reproducibility of much published research, it is critical to understand whether peer review is intrinsically susceptible to failure, or whether other extrinsic factors are responsible that distort scientists’ decisions. Here we show that even when scientists are motivated to promote the truth, their behaviour may be influenced, and even dominated, by information gleaned from their peers’ behaviour, rather than by their personal dispositions. This phenomenon, known as herding, subjects the scientific community to an inherent risk of converging on an incorrect answer and raises the possibility that, under certain conditions, science may not be self-correcting. We further demonstrate that exercising some subjectivity in reviewer decisions, which serves to curb the herding process, can be beneficial for the scientific community in processing available information to estimate truth more accurately. By examining the impact of different models of reviewer decisions on the dynamic process of publication, and thereby on eventual aggregation of knowledge, we provide a new perspective on the ongoing discussion of how the peer-review process may be improved.

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