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Peer Review 'Ouija Board'

Inspired by results published in a recent PLoS One paper — in which a trio of researchers at the Max Planck Society show that "scientific peer reviewers agree only slightly more often than they would by chance," he says — Neuroskeptic has assembled a pie chart divided by eight equivalent slices that each represent a satirical reviewer stereotype that shows the role chance plays in peer review. "Feel free to print it out and throw darts at it, or maybe make a roulette wheel kind of thing, or perhaps a Ouija board," Neuroskeptic says. While one might be lucky enough to have one's work evaluated by a "perfect reviewer" — "an intelligent, informed expert, new enough to the field that you have no axe to grind, and you take the time to read the paper fully, and return a constructive, perceptive review within a couple of weeks," he says — Neuroskeptic notes that there remains a greater chance, per reviewer, that each of the other evaluators are one of the seven remaining reviewer types, all of which he describes in less-than-favorable terms.

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