Well… he’d still get published today just not in one of the more prestigious journals.
I tend to agree that more prestigious journals _should_ favor large scale, hard-to-question studies because they need to stay reliable. For even with all of my issues about the things you can hide with big data and with statistical trickery, nevertheless, it’s generally good science.
Generally anyway. I’ll still complain.
But there’s other journals. Can’t get into Nature? Find another journal. Someone will take your article. Besides, you’ve always got arXiv and others. Once published, market the hell out of it online and write a book.
That’s the way things happen now. It’s not perfect but it’s effective.