Scientific Peer Review Is Broken Because the Peers Are All the Same

There’s been a lot of conversation about the value of scientific peer review lately. Less than a week ago, the New York Times reported that: “Two major [coronavirus] study retractions in one month have left researchers wondering if the peer review process is broken.” Much more concerningly to me, “[a]n unscientific and racist article” (quote from here) was published in Philosophical Psychology in December 2019 and the editors refused to let a group of scholars publish a critical commentary in a timely fashion. On a related note, the transphobic Gliske paper about which I had posted previously was retracted in April after months of controversy about how it could have possibly passed peer review.

Why does peer review not prevent the fruits of scientific racism, transphobia, and so many other damaging -isms and phobias from getting published?

My short answer is: it’s in the name.

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