Peer and present dangers (3 of 3)

September 20, 2012

Editors and publishers do take steps to drop reviewers who are abusive, inaccurate or cursory in their work. However, we are often faced with the fact that almost any review is better than nothing. Provided a paper passes initial scrutiny, then an inability to find reviewers is rarely used as a reason for rejection.

Many of the standards that Mumford proposes are already in use, for example, by publisher BioMed Central. I know when reviewing for it that my behaviour is modified by the fact that my comments are not anonymous.

Perhaps it is time for a peer-review system with greater - or total - transparency. However, this may result in a much shallower pool of reviewers, as the extent to which appraisers would be willing to dispense with anonymity remains untested.

Roger Watson, Editor-in-chief, Journal of Advanced Nursing

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