Help wanted. ‘A pall of gloom lies over the vital system of peer review. But the British Academy has some bright ideas. The Guardian’s Jessica Shepherd reports.
No fewer than three academic journals dismissed the economist George Akerlof’s paper The Market for Lemons as “trivial” and “too generic” when it was submitted in the late 1960s. Almost four decades later it was regarded as a seminal text and its author thought worthy of the Nobel prize for economics.
Peer review, when an academic submits a scholarly work to the scrutiny of other experts in the field for publication in a journal or for a grant, for example, has always been an imperfect science. But lately it has had more, and fiercer, critics.’