Peer Review Anonymity

Graham Clark Graham_Clark at
Wed Nov 1 18:05:52 EST 1995

->  Personally, I would
-> rather have a peer, who actually works in my field, than an editor 
-> evaluating my work.
-Why do you need peer to nurse your work ? Are 
-you not confident enough in yourself ? Suppose,
-you are given a choice between two options:
-(A) your paper goes through the anonymous 
-peer review, and can be delayed or rejected.
-(B) it goes straight to the press (subjected
-to just a minor technical editing).
-What option you prefer ? A or B ? Why ?

Who said anything about nursing? Give me (A) any day. Confidence has
nothing to do with it. Delay and rejection are never what I desire
but rejection is never, or should not be, without a good reason. If
there is a good reason why a paper of mine should not be published
I would like to know why. I have almost never had reviewers comments
that were petty or non-constructive. The resulting paper is usually
improved as a result of incorporating reviewer's comments. I am happy
to suffer the delay if the result is a better paper. Anyway, the review
process for most journals is shorter than the time to press once 

-> Actually, I view it as a privilege to be asked to serve the scientific
-> community in this way. Pity you don't feel the same.
-Certainly, it is your right to feel proud that you do
-participate in this activity (to serve as anonymous 
-reviewer). The point I am raising here, however, is that 
-neither you [ nor anyone else for this matter ] has so
-far presented a single convincing agrument that such 
-activity does in fact improves anything ("quality of 
-science", say).

Pride does not enter into it. I feel I benefit from peer review and so
I am happy to reciprocate. If your experience of peer review has been
negative, that's too bad. But you have certainly not provided an
alternative that to my mind has any merit at all. It merely makes
scientific publishing a free for all.
-You do not provide input to the authors of the 
-(paperback) books or movie directors before they 
-realeased their products. Why science is
-different ?  

If you believe that there is no review or editing in the non-scientific
publishing world or in movies you are dreaming!
 C. Graham Clark, Ph.D.
 Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases,
 National Institutes of Health,
 Bethesda, MD 20892
 Ph.: 301-496-4740
 FAX: 301-402-4941
 e-mail: gclark at

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