Ironic Call For Papers: International Symposium on Peer Reviewing: ISPR (

I got this message on my iPhone so I read it sequentially I could tell right away that it was a call-for-papers spam message but the first paragraph grabbed my attention.

Subject: Invitation to a Symposium in Peer Reviewing
Only 8% members of the Scientific Research Society agreed that “peer review works well as it is.” (Chubin and Hackett, 1990; p.192). Horrobin concludes that peer review “is a non-validated charade whose processes generate results little better than does chance.” (Horrobin, 2001). This has been statistically proven and reported by an increasing number of journal editors. Since a growing number of studies conclude that peer review is flawed and ineffective as it is being implemented, why not apply scientific and engineering research and methods to the peer review process?

This sounds sweet – I am pretty critical of the notion of “peer-review” – I will blather on about the subject for a long time – particularly after a long day and a few beers at the pub. This was the perfect tease for me – I was hooked – I kept reading while pumping my gas as the snow was falling around me. I also was thinking – this is Orlando Florida – could be a family trip combined with business. Hmmm. Lets see how this works…

So I looked further and kept reading as the gas tank filled. But I stopped when I got to this bit:

All Submitted papers will be reviewed using a double-blind (at least three reviewers), non-blind, and participative peer review.

Hmmm – somehow this does not make sense – why not choose papers randomly? Since random is better than peer review according to the above references.

This reminds me of the feeling over the years watching endless bad PowerPoint presentations describing how PowerPoint is the *worst possible* approach to teaching and learning. Somehow irony hits me differently than others I guess. Ah well – I thought the call for papers was uproariously funny while pumping gas in the snow.