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A Peer Review of Peer Review?

A new study in PLoS One statistically analyzes the problem of "widely varying reviews from different referees for the same exact paper," says In the Pipeline's Derek Lowe. The study is a meta-analysis of 52 papers and confirms that "yes, inter-reviewer reliability is low," he adds. Too high a level of agreement between reviewers could also be a problem — some of the reviewers may be redundant, or the pool of reviewers wasn't chosen with care, Lowe adds. So what level of agreement, or disagreement, is best? Well, good luck figuring that one out, Lowe says. Even with a close reading of all reviewer comments on a particular submission, it won't be easy to do.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.