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Peer Review Under Review

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.

The Scan

New Study Highlights Role of Genetics in ADHD

Researchers report in Nature Genetics on differences in genetic architecture between ADHD affecting children versus ADHD that persists into adulthood or is diagnosed in adults.

Study Highlights Pitfall of Large Gene Panels in Clinical Genomic Analysis

An analysis in Genetics in Medicine finds that as gene panels get larger, there is an increased chance of uncovering benign candidate variants.

Single-Cell Atlas of Drosophila Embryogenesis

A new paper in Science presents a single-cell atlas of fruit fly embryonic development over time.

Phage Cocktail Holds Promise for IBD

Researchers uncovered a combination phage therapy that targets Klebsiella pneumonia strains among individuals experiencing inflammatory bowel disease flare ups, as they report in Cell.