Date of this Version
Research with the potential to produce controversial findings is important to progress in the sciences. But scientific innovators often meet with resistance from the scientific community. Much anecdotal evidence has been provided about the reception accorded to researchers who have obtained controversial findings. While many of these cases occurred long ago (e.g., Copernicus and Galileo), the problem continues to the present. This problem has been addressed to some extent in that nearly all universities grant their faculty tenure to protect their right to publish their findings. Still, the right to publish one's findings does not remove the barriers to publication of controversial findings.
Perhaps the major barrier to publication is peer review. Peer review serves many useful functions such as correcting errors and providing a fair way to allocate journal space and research funds. But it also suppresses innovation. Below, I discuss how peer review affects the publication of controversial findings, discuss what is currently being done, and then recommend another solution to this problem.
Date Posted: 15 June 2007
This document has been peer reviewed.