Peer review and its discontents


  • Sabine Hossenfelder Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics



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Science is a community enterprise. Its quality control is expert judgement, which makes it necessary for peers to assess peers. For this reason, the organization of scholarly research is highly susceptible to social biases which conflict with scientific objectivity. Such biases, when unrecognized, interfere with knowledge discovery.

In my talk I will explain that the scientific system presently operates extremely inefficiently because individuals’ incentives are not aligned with the systems’ purpose. I will identify four types of pressure: time pressure, financial pressure, peer pressure, and public pressure, and argue that these skew researchers’ interests. Top-down solutions cannot solve this problem, but, as I will explain in my talk, scientists themselves must take initiative.


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Author Biography

Sabine Hossenfelder, Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics

Assistant professor for high energy physics at the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics in Stockholm. Since 2006 she writes about research and academia on her blog,



How to Cite

Hossenfelder, S. (2015). Peer review and its discontents. Septentrio Conference Series, (5).