PLoS medicine has a very interesting article on the problem of bias for submitted scientific papers. I find it also interesting that many of the authors of scientific papers which are rejected always complain about the editors being incompetent and generally want the evaluation done by a specific group of experts, or a biotech company.
This actually happens a lot in court rooms as well, given the fact Judges are known to rule certain ways either fairly harsh or not particularly harsh at all, or the lawyer may have a record of favorable rulings with certain Judges, so lawyers generally want to bring their cases to those Judges who they know might give them the advantage. Of course it doesn’t always work out that way.
“Sometimes distortion of the scientific record may be limited in scope, relating to just one paper. But when a single company funds virtually an entire research agenda on a particular topic, there is the potential for wider and far more damaging distortion.
In a detailed analysis of documentation released as part of a class-action lawsuit relating to the drug gabapentin (Neurontin), Kay Dickersin has described “…a remarkable assemblage of evidence of reporting biases that amount to outright deception of the biomedical community, and suppression of scientific truth concerning the effectiveness of Neurontin for migraine, bipolar disorders, and pain…” -PLoS Medicine
I agree, there is much bias in the scientific community’s papers, just like in other media outlets as well. The editorial in PLoS has not one, not two, but five proposes in trying to remedy the problem.
“Journals generally have policies regarding declaration of competing interests by authors. Similarly, editors’ political and scientific views, personal relationships, and professional and financial interests can all conceivably interfere with the objectivity of their decisions.”
I also agree with the assessment which is right on target as the bias often times happens with those sort of situations. Also, reprint sales from these scientific Journals are unknown as they don’t want to publish the profits the they make and I suspect the reason why is because it’s a pretty sizable number, which makes it a major factor in accepting or rejecting scientific papers because of the pretty good sizable profits to be made there is a great deal of motivation in selecting scientific papers that may make more money than others
The possible solution for this problem is open-access publication which PLoS recommends. This is not to say all privately owned publications should have to follow suit in what would be considered “the fairness doctrine.” But unlike science or nature, the Creationist Journal doesn’t require a subscription fee for each article and often times publishes for free some of it’s articles.
Finally, I don’t agree with many papers accepted and published in PLoS with the evolution slant to it, that’s not to say such papers should be censored but on the hand, I would like to see the other side of the argument (creationism or intelligent design) being presentated as well and have the same consideration. It is more likely that a creationist publication would be more willing to present both sides than a publication which promotes evolution.