Scientific peer reviews are a ‘sacred cow’ ready to be slaughtered, says former editor of BMJ

The peer review process – long considered the gold standard of quality scientific research – is a “sacred cow” that should be slaughtered, the former editor of one of the country’s leading medical journals has said.

Richard Smith, who edited the British Medical Journal for more than a decade, said there was no evidence that peer review was a good method of detecting errors and claimed that “most of what is published in journals is just plain wrong or nonsense”.

Research papers considered for scientific and medical journals undergo a process of scrutiny by experts before they can be published. Hundreds of thousands of new studies are published around the world every year, and the peer review process exists to ensure that readers can have confidence that published findings are scientifically sound.

But Dr Smith said pre-publication peer review was slow, expensive and, perhaps ironically, lacking in evidence that it actually works in its chief goal of spotting errors.

Read more at The Independent