Anatomy of Constructive Peer Review

Anatomy of Constructive Peer Review 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 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Medical Care Wolters Kluwer Health

Anatomy of Constructive Peer Review

Medical Care, Volume 57 (6) – Jun 1, 2019

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Publisher
Wolters Kluwer Health
Copyright
Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0025-7079
eISSN
1537-1948
D.O.I.
10.1097/MLR.0000000000001116
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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

Journal

Medical CareWolters Kluwer Health

Published: Jun 1, 2019

References

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