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Peer Review or Lottery? A Critical Analysis of Two Different Forms of Decision-making Mechanisms for Allocation of Research Grants
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE).
2019 (English)In: Science, Technology and Human Values, ISSN 0162-2439, E-ISSN 1552-8251, Vol. 44, no 6, p. 994-1019Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

At present, peer review is the most common method used by funding agencies to make decisions about resource allocation. But how reliable, efficient, and fair is it in practice? The ex ante evaluation of scientific novelty is a fundamentally uncertain endeavor; bias and chance are embedded in the final outcome. In the current study, I will examine some of the most central problems of peer review and highlight the possible benefits of using a lottery as an alternative decision-making mechanism. Lotteries are driven by chance, not reason. The argument made in the study is that the epistemic landscape could benefit in several respects by using a lottery, thus avoiding all types of bias, disagreement, and other limitations associated with the peer review process. Funding agencies could form a pool of funding applicants who have minimal qualification levels and then select randomly within that pool. The benefits of a lottery would not only be that it saves time and resources, but also that it contributes to a more dynamic selection process and increases the epistemic diversity, fairness, and impartiality within academia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 44, no 6, p. 994-1019
Keywords [en]
peer review, lottery, research funding, epistemic landscape, random, allocation, fairness and impartiality
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-168232DOI: 10.1177/0162243918822744OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-168232DiVA, id: diva2:1307189
Available from: 2019-04-26 Created: 2019-04-26 Last updated: 2019-10-18Bibliographically approved

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