According to Cell.com, Dr. O’Connor is a professor at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and her comment was part of an interview published last month.
Dr. O'Connor says, "It often seems those who criticize or spend large amounts of time blogging are also those who don’t generate much [sic] publications themselves." She thinks comments should be peer-reviewed and published only in journals. She worries about the public who may not realize "a published paper passed rigorous review by experts, which carries more validity than the opinion of some disgruntled scientist or amateur on the internet." She adds, "criticism in social media is damaging to science, as it is to most aspects of our culture."
Apparently she isn't aware that peer review is under fire from a number of respectable sources.
"If peer review was a drug it would never be allowed onto the market," said Drummond Rennie, a contributing deputy editor of JAMA. Richard Smith, former editor of the BMJ agrees "because we have no convincing evidence of its benefits but a lot of evidence of its flaws."
In 2015, 107 scientific papers were retracted by several journals because their authors, nearly all of whom were Chinese academics, had performed fraudulent peer review by creating fictitious names and email addresses of suggested reviewers so they could write glowing reviews of their own work. Some of these charlatans are from Beijing, where Dr. O'Connor is based.
Australian bloggers found an error that had somehow been missed during "rigorous review by experts" regarding the number needed to treat in a New England Journal of Medicine paper on targeted vs. universal decolonization to prevent ICU infection. They contacted the paper's corresponding author who acknowledged the mistake within 11 days. It took five months for a correction to appear online in the journal.
Whether Dr. O'Connor likes it or not, the future will involve more immediate feedback about research papers. For example, PubMed and PubPeer already allow comments, and the BMJ also has a section for online rapid responses.
Blogger Marc Bellemare, an associate professor of economics at the University of Minnesota, cites David McKenzie, an economist/blogger at the World Bank who thinks that blogs play an important role in disseminating information to the public and "raise the profile of bloggers and their institution."
But Bellemare feels blogging might not be for every academic He quotes Tyler Cowen of George Mason University, who when asked why don't more economists blog replied, "I believe it is because they can’t, at least not without embarrassing themselves rather quickly, even if they are smart and very good economists. It’s simply a different set of skills."
Maybe Dr. O'Connor doesn't have the skill set to blog. I say, "Those who can, blog. Those who can't, insult those who can."