DNA Repair's editor-in-chief, Errol Friedberg, says that it's time to begin assessing the deficiencies and merits of the peer review system. These days, he says, international congresses are convened to study peer review in biomedical journals, which can address concerns about whether or not it even works. Friedberg summarizes lessons learned from one such meeting: keeping the identity of an author secret from reviewers doesn't improve the review, reviewers under 40 write better reviews, reviewers signing their reviews and passing them to co-reviewers has no obvious effect on the quality of the review, and bias and parochialism exist within the system. "Finally, and perhaps more significantly," he adds, "developing a useful instrument to measure manuscript quality remains a huge challenge." Friedberg says he would like to see data supporting the idea that "mature, unbiased and intelligent examination of manuscripts by reviewers who begin their examination of papers with every intention of finding merit in them rather than finding fault, provides a means of identifying meritorious papers." Ideas for improvement of the system are also needed, he says.
Peer Review Under Review
Apr 13, 2010