Secret refereeing: quality control or thought control?

Many people think that the system of secretive refereeing (euphemistically called “peer review”) serves as a system of quality control. Whole groups of nations (such as the Organization of Islamic Conference) have formed their science policies on the basis of that belief. (See my paper on “Benchmarking science” for the USM-PSU conference at Hat Yai, October, 2011.)

But, what is the scientific evidence that such secretive refereeing serves the purpose of quality control?

Historically, the system of secretive refereeing was invented by the church for its evil purpose of thought control. (See my article on “Decolonisation: time for change“.) Church power derived from a bunch of the most abject lies and superstitions with which it filled the mind of Western man since childhood. So, it needed a system to actively maintain those lies. The key point of the system was to not allow dissenters to articulate their views. Thus, the church successfully suppressed Newton’s views that it had fabricated and manipulated the Bible. Those views could have brought about a real Newtonian revolution.

Today, the secrecy in refereeing serves two purposes. If people are asked to submit their ideas to journals controlled by Westerners, it allows Westerners a chance to steal those ideas. How often does this happen? Probably more often than people are willing to admit.  After all, so many prominent Western scientific icons since Copernicus systematically “independently rediscovered” their ideas, just when dependent discovery was possible! (See, Is Science Western in Origin?)

Some editors must be honest, but in the above article on decolonisation I gave examples of blatant editorial dishonesty, at the topmost level of mathematics, endorsed by Western academics in the name of editorial freedom. If that is what happens in the full public gaze, one can only imagine what happens with secret refereeing, where one does not even know who is doing the “independent rediscovery”. There is no scientific basis for trust in this secretive system on the basis of the facts one does know.

The second purpose that secretive refereeing serves is the enforcement of orthodoxy. Secrecy allows the referee to talk any nonsense for it hides the ignorance of the referee, and thus allows an ignorant person to judge a knowledgeable person. The only thing the referee needs to know is whether or not something is orthodox. The claim that secrecy allows frank articulation of opinion is absurd and meant to cloak the fact that in most cases it allows editors and referees to exercise power (and grab the money that goes with hegemony) like the medieival church.

It is this technique of preserving orthodoxy which led to the preservation for so many centuries of the foolish creation date for the world 6000 years ago, set with exquisite prevision by the Vice Chancellor of Cambridge. In science, we have had phlogiston and ether. Now “science” has filled the world with dark matter and dark energy like the dark forces which fill the potty world of Harry Potter (obviously much cited, with a high impact parameter, hence the truth on these bibliometric considerations!).

 Scientific opinion must be articulated publicly, not in secret. As argued in my paper (and booklet) on Academic Imperialism, peer review should be post-publication, public review in this digital age. Science requires public discussion. Scientific belief should not be based just on misplaced trust in the secret doings of Western editors and referees.

Ordinary academics have to demand this, for science managers often have Wested interests.





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