This pronouncement will no doubt cause a firestorm.Here’s the pull quote:
“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”
To be honest, I don’t have trouble believing the source — for the hard sciences anyway, not the humanities. Why? Pretty simple: money and logistics.
Science publication is invariably and inextricably tied to big money: research grants, medical and drug products (including consumer items), military applications, that sort of thing. There’s tremendous cash incentive to publish research, even if it’s in progress (which is a major target of this editor’s criticism). A professor or research scientist needs those credits for the next grant application or for his/her university’s bid for a military or big pharma contract. And then there’s money from federal programs (this is how the global warming industry works — politicized science). Consequently, there are dozens of science journals that produce hundreds of pages per week of journal literature. It’s staggering.
The humanities are nowhere close to that. The “busiest” journals produce 4-6 issues per year (and are nearly always under 250 pages, by design – to control printing and shipping costs). Humanities research just doesn’t produce anything that has the potential for consumer products or military application. Archaeologists, historians, and biblical scholars don’t cure cancer (or acne), produce fad diets, upgrade weapons systems, or help the government spy on people. I’m not saying that humanities journals never publish anything they shouldn’t. I’m saying that, if you think the above headline justifies snubbing what the peer-review process produces in humanities field, you just don’t understand the fields or the problem.