When contacted by The Reg, Muller responded in an email that he believes scientific papers should be widely circulated in “preprint” form before their publication. “It has been traditional throughout most of my career to distribute preprints around the world,” he writes. “In fact, most universities and laboratories had ‘preprint libraries’ where you could frequently find colleagues.”
This preprint system, he told us, is being stifled by major journals. “This traditional peer-review system worked much better than the current Science/Nature system, which in my mind restricts the peer review to 2 or 3 anonymous people who often give a cursory look at the paper.”
While this more tightly controlled review method may enhance the prestige of major journals, Muller told us, it does nothing for the advancement of science.
“I think this abandonment of the traditional peer review system is responsible, in part, for the fact that so many bad papers are being published,” he writes. “These papers have not be vetted by the true peers, the large scientific world.”