Watch this video on the problem with scientific research that is deliberately fraudulent, or perhaps merely “not replicable,” or simply false. Then ask yourself: could something of this nature be true in papers and academic endeavors where there is too much pressure on academics to create something, whether it really makes sense or not, so that they can gain some career objective or other?
Of course, the academic assessment industry will say that “peer review” should take care of the problem. The problem with that idea is that all of those false or fraudulent scientific papers discussed in the video were also peer reviewed. And if the putatively objective nature of science, backstopped by peer review of “objective scientists,” can’t stop garbage from getting into the journals (and no one should assume that withdrawn papers are the only false or fraudulent ones that got published….), then how much worse is the problem in the far more subjective “words about words” academic disciplines, especially those whose academic work is largely talking about what other people have said?
Some of these are disciplines where the concept of truth itself has been frequently challenged. When peer review is done by people who share the “foundational expertise” of the discipline, the problem is bad enough. How bad is it when the review is done by people without that background?
Peer review, it turns out, may just be another way of deciding who gets to stay on the island…. which is often based far more in form than in substance.
How many original ideas are there likely to be? How many people are likely to have them? Should the only people allowed to teach in higher education be people who have original ideas that pass peer review, especially when those original ideas may not even be central to the discipline being taught?
The application of all of this to the evaluation of “faith integration in music” for music faculty may be obvious to the reader. Hint: it automatically involves “peer review” by people who are not professional musicians.
You can find me selling faith integration bibliographies with possible musical connections out of my trunk in the faculty parking lot. Come early. Supplies are limited.
Feel free to quote me. This blog is not peer reviewed…. but may be true anyway.
h/t: StevenHayward on Powerline