Science is dynamic. Sometimes this means that science is wrong, sometimes it means that science is messy. Mostly it is very self-correcting, given the current state of knowledge. At any given time the body of science knows a lot, but could be overturned when new evidence comes in. What we produce through all of this, however, at the end of the day, are polished journal articles. Polished journal articles.
Every time I think about this disparity, I wonder why different versions of a paper, the referee reports, the author responses, and all editorial reviews aren’t part of the scientific record. In an age where online archiving of data such as this is a minor cost, why is so much of the review process revealed to only the authors, the referees, and the editors?