Updating Magic Universe
WHY IS SCIENCE SO SloooOW? — continued
The modest output of major discoveries compared with a century ago, despite the huge increase in the scientific workforce, was the theme of an earlier post on this subject, which you can see here https://calderup.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/why-is-science-so-sloooow/ . A relevant extract from the Magic Universe story on “Discovery” included this paragraph about the use of peer review to resist the funding and publication of novel research.
As a self-employed, independent researcher, the British chemist James Lovelock was able to speak his mind, and explain how the system discourages creativity. ‘Before a scientist can be funded to do a research, and before he can publish the results of his work, it must be examined and approved by an anonymous group of so-called peers. This inquisition can’t hang or burn heretics yet, but it can deny them the ability to publish their research, or to receive grants to pay for it. It has the full power to destroy the career of any scientist who rebels.’
Lovelock made those remarks in a lecture in 1989, but the situation remains grim. This month the life sciences magazine The Scientist has interesting articles on peer review.