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Blogpost by James Coyne PhD (renegade research psychologist) complaining re: peer reviewer's review

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Dolphin, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Title of thread should read:
    Blogpost by James Coyne PhD (renegade research psychologist) complaining about a peer reviewer's review


    Title of blog I'm highlighting:

    James Coyne is an interesting researcher/writer (see bio below).

    Here is his introduction to the post:
    The issue regarding peer review is largely covered at the start of the piece so for those with limited mental stamina/time for reading, that might be all you have the time for.

    I was never really conscious of how much power peer-reviewers have until I submitted a paper myself.

    I could see that it could be a problem in the ME/CFS field with so many professionals wedded to the rehabilitation/graded activity model for the illness.

    The rest of the post is about screening cancer patients for distress. I would need to read more to take a definite stance but it is is interesting.

    Perhaps, although I'm not sure, the same arguments could have relevance with ME/CFS clinics where patients might be screened for distress. Anyway, my main reason to post it was to highlight the power peer reviewers have.

    ------------
    Here's his bio from the end of the piece:


    Simon likes this.
  2. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    Interesting ... if I understand correctly, it looks like the author (Coyne) is rebutting the assumption in other papers that cancer patients should automatically be screened for psychiatric disorder. His stance is that it should be first studied to see what the costs and benefits of blanket screening is, especially since the info available shows that few people require psychiatric treatment as a result of cancer.

    I also think Coyne has a good point about these "screening" methods being pushed by pharmaceutical companies, as well as the "cure" in pill form - and that replacing the patient talking to the doctor about the actual source of their distress and dealing with it.

    Definitely a parallel to how ME/CFS is being treated - though instead of pills, they want to use the "psychiatric" screening (often drawing psychiatric conclusions based on physical symptoms) and diagnosis as a pretext for their special therapy.

    And it ain't good if journals aren't allowing polite disagreement either via comments or via papers that have to survive review by those with established interests in a contrary viewpoint.
    Simon likes this.
  3. Simon

    Simon

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    Monmouth, UK
    I think peer-review may be broken. Much sub-standard stuff gets past peer review, notably the PACE trial using a SF-36 Physical Function score of 60 to define both 'severely disabled' and 'normal' (and later 'recovery').

    On the other hand, as this blog points out, peer reviewers can use hostile reviewing to keep ideas they don't like from being published. I did read the full blog and the hostile reviewer essentially conceded Coyne's central point that there isn't good evidence screening cancer patients for 'distress' is helpful or cost-effective. It also emerged from the 'Climategate' scandal emails that peer review was being used to keep conficting ideas out of the literature. What surprised me about that was how many scientists then said this was common practice in other fields too, and wasn't specific to climate research.

    Overall, I wonder how good a job peer-review does of making sure that good science gets published.
    SOC and Valentijn like this.
  4. kaffiend

    kaffiend Senior Member

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    Sean, Valentijn and Dolphin like this.
  5. Chris

    Chris Senior Member

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    A classic book, Thomas Kuhn, "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions," is relevant to this discussion--it is nearly always an "outsider" who reveals a new truth, and shows that the Emperor has no clothes. Peer reviewing has long been part of the machinery that keeps old ideas afloat. Which is not to deny that there are many good reviewers who can respond to new ideas, but much is left to the editor, who normally chooses the reviewers. Chris
  6. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Thanks all.
  7. Sean

    Sean Senior Member

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    "Or I could always write it up for Scientific American."

    :D

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