Suggesting peers helps all

August 28, 2008

The hot news about peer review ("Pick-a-peer option 'undermining review system'," 7 August) is, frankly, old hat. I've been recommending potential reviewers for my own papers for years.

Editors and reviewers are not omniscient. Two or three times a year, I am offered papers to review that are on the edge of my range of expertise and which I'd rather not see.

The author of a research paper who recommends three or four potential reviewers to the editor is helping the academic process. The author is indicating the players in his or her field of investigation. The editor may use none of the names suggested, but their choice of reviewers will be better informed than otherwise.

Stephen K. Donovan, Managing editor, Scripta Geologica Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum, Leiden.

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