SPECIAL COMMENTARY Ronnie D. Horner, PhD,* and Lisa M. Lines, PhD, MPH†‡ he value of peer review continues to be debated in the scientiﬁc community. In recent Tyears, a number of prominent researchers have questioned the utility of peer review, claiming that it is inefﬁcient, slow, expensive, and sometimes fails to meet its objectives: namely, to elevate worthy works of scholarship to the status of “the medical literature” and to keep less-worthy works from seeing the light of day. The critics are not without evidence that supports these claims, including studies exposing biases in the peer review 2,3 process; publication in numerous journals of reports consisting of computer-generated gibberish or obviously fake science; the failure of reviewers to spot obvious and im- portant errors (even after training); and the fact that even some Nobel-prize-winning works of scholarship were initially rejected by peer reviewers. A Cochrane Review from over a decade ago concluded that little empirical evidence supported the use of peer review as a way to assure the quality of published research. Despite this criticism, we hold peer review in the same vein as Winston Churchill did democracy: “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it
Medical Care – Wolters Kluwer Health
Published: Jun 1, 2019
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