Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Confidentiality of files at scientific journals

Richard Gallagher has an editorial, End the Censorship of Science, which includes text:

The one exception to the “under no circumstances” dictate, so far as I can tell, occurred last year when Science turned over the complete file for the fraudulent Hwang stem cell paper to an expert panel. 2 This was a welcome move and, by the standards of the profession, a bold one. I appreciated hearing the views of the expert panel – who, by the way, were pledged to absolute secrecy as a condition of appointment – but it didn’t go nearly far enough in terms of openness. Why shouldn’t you or I be allowed to come to our own judgment after reading the reviews and the internal exchanges? This would better serve the interests of science and stoke the curiosity of the public.

footnote 2 is K. Fodor, “Panel recommends changes at Science,” The Scientist Daily News, Nov. 29, 2006, www.the-scientist.com/news/home/36969/

One "comment" to the Gallagher editorial is highly relevant to proposed "peer review" of patents (peer to patent):

However, peer review is performed not by professional editors, but mostly by well-meaning but not always highly motivated or appropriately recognized amateurs, and by potential rivals with territories to defend, offenses to avenge, and other axes to grind. These axes should be considered potential conflicts of interest that may compromise the reviewer's ability or motivation to remain impartial--but editors are not always equipped to check on a reviewer's possible conflicts of interest, so antagonistic, unfair, and careless reviews which would embarrass their authors if they were made public continue to be commonplace.

Researchers unwilling to be publicly accountable for the feedback they provide to their peers perpetuate the unhelpful interference of personal, professional. and political issues in the process of science editing and publishing--quite a paradox considering current trends in favor of accountability and transparency in research derived from clinical trials, patent-generating work, and other forms of applied research.

IPBiz notes a negative link, stating

IPBiz (a skeptic, safe to say, of our project, if not P2P itself)

IPBiz notes that IPBiz is not the only IP blog skeptical of peer to patent.

For example, in a post titled Toxic Review, patent prospector wrote:

The Peer to Patent Project: Community Patent Review was always a dumb idea. Note that no drug companies, the guys who really know how to ply patents, would touch the project with a barge pole. Now the participants are figuring that out.

IPBiz notes that THAT is a skeptic of peer to patent.


Blogger Gary said...

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