This story depicts a trend that certainly has its pros and cons. Researchers fed up with academic journals — where a board of experts decides what can and cannot be printed — are simply posting their research and arguments online.
First of all, let’s not hold any illusions about the old system. In many fields the lesser-known journals actually charged scientists to publish, and thus had the incentive to print just about everything anyway. And it’s not hard to believe that high-prestige journals might stay away from daring, controversial research to preserve an elite status.
But by the same token, this development could contribute to a sense of relativism, where all arguments are equally worthy of consideration and rebuttal despite their merits and basis in solid research. And that’s one thing already PC-drenched science institutions don’t need.
Robert VerBruggen blots at http://robertsrationale.blogspot.com.