Peer review of academic papers a thing of the past?

My colleague Deborah Morrison pointed my attention to an interesting piece in the New York Times. The piece referred to a group of people who have become critical of the “…the monopoly that peer review has on admission to career-making journals and, as a consequence, to the charmed circle of tenured academe. ” Instead they suggest that the Internet should be used to bring research to a wider audience to help decide the value of the work. It’s an ongoing discussion and Nigel Hawkes in the Independent goes as far as saying that: “Peer-reviewed journals aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.” Strong stuff! The issue at stake in the publishing game is tenure  and his argument is that if a highly ranked peer-reviewed journal rejects a paper then it will be sent to the next one down ranking list, and the paper will be published there.  David Gorski adds to the discussion in Science-Based Medicine by saying that it is bad, biased and incompetent peer-reviewing that needs to be clamped down upon.  He points to two key issues: incompetence and bias and I dare say he has a point. Let’s once and for all reject bad research.

I my role as an educator I have seen cases of material being “lifted” entirely uncritical from the Internet. This makes me wary of putting research to the poll on the Web, in order to decide whether it is “good” research. You can say whether it is of interest to readers but will an Internet poll tell you whether it is good? Good as in unbiased and well-documented research?

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We’re getting there…

The new school is coming along nicely and I can’t wait to show it off to all our new MBAs as well as those of you from the 2009 class who are still around.  Well, all our new students are of course welcome but as you know, the MBA is my special area of interest.   Most importantly (ha,ha) the cafe is now open so you can have a decent cup of coffee. And as we are now all in the same building I can catch up with all my colleagues on a regular basis.

Ohh, by the way.  You may remember that I was going to see Danny Bhoy in the festival.  Danny Bhoy rocks!  He is so funny!  I spent all evening laughing but you don’t really want to because you don’t want to miss anything. Go and see him! He’s on in McEwan Hall.  Funny thing was that I could hardly recognise McEwan Hall.  I normally see it for graduations when I join the academic procession but last night it was all dressed up for Danny Bhoy’s understated presence.

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Ahh, weekend!

Pittenweem is a small and secluded fishing vil...
Image via Wikipedia

I’m rather looking forward to the weekend. Can’t really say why I’m so excited about it but there you go. Last weekend I went to the art festival in Pittenweem (yes, that is the name of the town and it’s in Fife, Scotland).
I went to support my friend Marlene. She’s a painter and she exhibited at the festival. This festival is all over this small coastal town and it is rather delightful with exhibitions in every Tom, Dick or Harry’s living room. Or the local school. Or a garage. We had a good time.

This weekend I’ll probably go to the Foodies Festival in Edinburgh – lots of things to see, taste and do.

I’m just thinking – tomorrow it’s exactly one month to the start of the MBA Induction Week. It will be good to meet you all!

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The excitement is mounting

And so is the sadness….

As more and more of the students in my new MBA class is arriving into Edinburgh the prospect of a new class becomes ever more exciting.  At the same time it’s time for me to realise that the great people that are the full-time MBA class of 2009-10 will be trickling away in the next few weeks.  Luckily those of the MBAIB class of 2009-10 will still be around for another few months but then it will also be time to say goodbye to them.

But I do have a cracking group of people lined up to take over and as some of them have settled in Edinburgh all ready I’ve had a chance to meet and say hi.  I can also see from the activity on the Google group for the incoming class that they are very busy getting acquainted.

Our new home is shaping up nicely.  Still a few finishing touches but we’re getting there.

You will probably know that the Festival season is upon Edinburgh, with more shows on offer than very before.  Visitors are in abundance but unfortunately they have been greeted by showers.  Well we did need the rain.  I’m planning to see a couple of things (Danny Bhoy is a definite!) but otherwise I’ll keep a low profile this year.

New home!

The University of Edinburgh Business School is in the process of moving to our new home. Our new address is 29 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh EH8 9JS. Please make a note of that. My phone number and email address remains the same.  There will be a number of events marking our move to a new and much improved school in the coming year, and we are a of course very happy to now (or at least very soon) have state of the art facilities to offer our students.

I no longer have a view to McEwan Hall, our Graduation Hall, from my office.


Instead I can now feast my eyes on leafy George Square.  I only moved this Monday so I’m still in the process of unpacking boxes and trying to decide where to put everything and although I sorted things when packing a few things may still be ditched. I don’t like a cluttered office.

You may have noted that this blog was not working for me for some time but it is now so I hope to add more as we go a long.  I had of course hoped that the Greece problem was a thing of the past now but it isn’t. Things are changing but very slowly still.