Just a quick comment gathered from a link Mary showed me. I have had my run ins with reviewers of papers and grants. Some reviewers definitely have an agenda and, as humans, all reviews have subjective biases. I could tell you stories. But, for the most part, even given the few huge frustrations, the review process have made my research and papers better and tighter science.
Peer review is not without it’s problems, there are entire blogs (like Peer-to-Peer) and communities discussing it. And of course, a lot of substandard research is published, as possiblty evidenced by the recent discussion of the arsenic-eating bacteria paper. I’ve read my quota of really bad research and spurious conclusions from peer-reviewed journals. But again, it’s the sum-total of the peer review system (and the subsequent discussion, more research, rebuttal publications) that has obviously created excellent science and the advancement of our understanding of biology heretofore.
Nature Precedings is not an alternative peer-review, it’s a place to put research before peer-reviewed publication to invite discussion, spur further research and claim priority. But I’ve seen it pointed to as the part of an alternative. Yet, it’s papers like this (and two others by the same author) that make me realize that peer-review is a necessary purgatory. I won’t spend the time eviscerating the issues of this research, they are legion and it’s not worth my time. I can imagine the casual reader of Nature Precedings might come across it and see all the biolingo and think it’s legitimate research, but really that doesn’t concern me. But, the author of these articles uses them to lend legitimacy to his main thesis: “genome data proves false the theory of evolution.” He does this in a press release (http: //www.prweb.com/releases/theory/genome/prweb4896744.htm .. I won’t link so as not to give this any more web legitimacy, but you can take the space out if you want to see it) where he links to all three “publications”:
Using modern genomics, Dr. Senapathy and his team’s work, showed how the abundance and diversity of life on earth originated directly in the prebiotic environment. They have presented the results in three scientific publications in Nature Precedings: publication 1, publication 2, publication 3.
Research shows that modern genome data completely uproots the evolution model.
He uses the well-deserved respect of the brand “Nature” and the sleight of hand to call them “publications” (when all they are pre-prints with no peer review or review of the science) to lend legitimacy to a counterfeit conclusion.
With all the ‘woo’ in this world, I would suspect that peer-review or some other rigorous solution (which I haven’t yet seen) is more necessary than ever to move science forward.
Edit by Mary: I was just watching some journalists discover this story on MuckRack (http://muckrack.com/sci ) and here’s what they said: