The Problem of Bias

The Problem of Bias

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  • July 11, 2021
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Why Peer Review is Important to the Screenprint Technologies

Peer review is long overdue in the myriad technologies of screenprinting. Every month, screenprinters are presented with biased misinformation that creates a massive amount of waste in the industries. Nothing is more important to the tens of thousands of shop owners and those who work in the screenprinting industries than the truth – the non-biased, valid information that they governed by.

When readers of published articles are convinced to create change, there is a cost to the individual, the screenprinting shop, and indeed, the future of screenprinting. Even the most minor error in an article can cause a significant disruption when multiplied by those who believed the information was valid and invested time and finances to create change.

This full effect of any disruption can not be known because there is no follow-through from the author or the publisher of the information. However, we can attempt to interpolate the worst-case scenario. With trade magazines having a distribution of 100,000 readers and screenprinting shop cost rates running US$300 an hour, a simple error that creates a one-hour waste has a potential cost of US$30 million in the USA alone. What if they make only one change each month? The total price could be as high as US$360 million a year. The cost of an error can create a massive amount of waste. And published incorrect articles can have far-reaching implications.

This cost is one reason, and perhaps the most important, why published articles need to undergo a process of quality control known as peer review. Peer review involves subjecting the author’s work to review by experts in the same field to check its validity. A peer review substantiates the value of the work.

Unfortunately, most general interest trade magazines do not have a set of guidelines for what they publish. The management and staff of these magazines know literately nothing about the screenprinting process. The result is obvious to even the most novice screenprinter. They open an article on “heat printing,” expecting to find an informative article on an innovative screenprinting technique. And then find out that the uneducated author was referring to heat transfer printing. Or, perhaps the authors used the ill-conceived Wikipedia as an information resource. It is inherently wrong to place trust in the hands of those who have no reason to gain knowledge or exercise judgment.

The Peer Review Process

Articles submitted to a valid publication undergo a preliminary review. It is essential that the editor has a vast amount of knowledge about the article’s subject and is qualified to perform this vital step. The lack of knowledge about the screenprinting process by editors is how much of the information in trade magazines is severely lacking validity. It is essential to select experts from the same field. The experts should be qualified and able to review the work impartially. Ideally, multiple experts evaluate the work with stringent guidelines.

A peer review is necessary to:

  • Determine is a work falls within the journal’s scope
  • To check if the topic has is formulated clearly
  • To decide if a suitable approach addresses the issues involved.

The reviewer also examines the methodology to ensure it can reproduce the results and assess the novelty and originality of the research findings. The reviewer will also evaluate the logical construction of the argument and if conclusions are well-founded. The author benefits from peer review as they improve their writing, methodology and become more knowledgeable of the process.

Peer reviewers typically provide their assessment in the form of a questionnaire which they return to the editor. This review forms the basis for deciding whether the work should be accepted, considered acceptable with revisions, or rejected. Usually, rejection occurs with submissions with serious failings, though they can be re-submitted once revised.

As a rule, reviewers are not paid for their time to eliminate the bias of commercialism. Publishers often ‘reward’ their reviewers by granting them free access to their archives for a limited time or points for their peer-reviewed articles.

Types of Peer Review

The term peer review encompasses different approaches and can be either single-blind or double-blind. With single-blind, the name of the reviewer is withheld. In double-blind, the reviewer and author are unknown to each other.

Some publications use anti-plagiarism software prevents fraud. There may be separate reviews of parts of the paper. And they may examine illustrations for manipulation.

Conference organizers also use peer review to select which contributions to include in their program. And funders may use peer review to ensure the eligibility of proposals.

Peer review cannot eliminate fraud cases and the publication of low-quality papers in those magazines that do not use the service. Nevertheless, peer review continues to be favored despite all the criticism. Peer review has proved its value in improving the quality of papers in most cases. If authors can view the report and work through the comments, peer review is exceptional. In the end, of course, the responsibility lies with the authors who are required to demonstrate rigor, probability, and scientific reproducibility as part of the scientific process. The peer-review concept is also constantly adapted to counter criticism such as the points mentioned above.

Alternatives

Open peer review, a concept that includes crowd-sourced peer review, is an alternative. Articles are published after only cursory preliminary checks. The scientific community performs the actual assessment and evaluation process. Open peer review has not proven to work well, as it does little to prevent errors. Few people are willing to enter into a discussion of the merits of an article. However, this offers vital benefits such as opening up a broader debate and speeding up publishing comments and checks.

Currently, it is understood that open peer review can only supplement a single-blind or double-blind process. There is also a risk that the process is affected by personal feelings and rivalries between individual authors.

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