Tested to destruction

June 6, 2013

Drawing on personal experience, Adrian Furnham expresses concern over what he sees as peer-review “nightmares” and the “arbitrariness of journal decision-making” (“Take the rough with the smooth”, Opinion, 23 May). In a career in which he has published more than 1,000 peer-reviewed papers, he can certainly claim to have tested the frailties of the system.

If we assume a 40-year period of research (give or take a few years), Furnham’s output would equate to about 25 papers a year, or a paper submitted to an editor every two weeks (not including rejections and resubmissions to other journals). If we also assume a minimum of one correction per paper, his communications with editors would average at least 50 a year, or about one a week. An easy task, Furnham might claim, but possibly not for all the editors and reviewers floundering in his wake.

If his approach is not a recipe for the occasional bout of chaos or worse, I don’t know what is. Indeed, Furnham seems to agree: in trying to understand one particular editor, he wonders whether he is suffering from “a short-term memory problem, overwork” or playing “a prank”. Perhaps it is all three. What is certain is that if all researchers adopted ­Furnham’s demanding approach to the peer-review system, it would quickly collapse.

Ben Atkinson
Hertfordshire

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Student Hub Advisor

Greenwich School Of Management Ltd

Data Systems Administrator

Greenwich School Of Management Ltd

Deputy Vice Chancellor

University Of Cumbria

Professor in English Literature

University Of Glasgow
See all jobs

Most Commented

Doctoral study can seem like a 24-7 endeavour, but don't ignore these other opportunities, advise Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman

Matthew Brazier illustration (9 February 2017)

How do you defeat Nazis and liars? Focus on the people in earshot, says eminent Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt

Improvement, performance, rankings, success

Phil Baty sets out why the World University Rankings are here to stay – and why that's a good thing

Warwick vice-chancellor Stuart Croft on why his university reluctantly joined the ‘flawed’ teaching excellence framework

people dressed in game of thrones costume

Old Germanic languages are back in vogue, but what value are they to a modern-day graduate? Alice Durrans writes