Peer Review Anonymity

Simon M. Brocklehurst smb at bioch.ox.ac.uk
Fri Nov 3 06:32:50 EST 1995


I agree with the points the Graham has made in his posts on this
subject.  I suspect that the silent majority would also agree
with this position.


Dr Berezin apparently believes that most published science
is garbage (to quote him on one of his earlier posts).
If this were true, then it might be worth trying a new system.

The _fact_, however, is that there are many papers, published in
good journals, that are of high quality.  Thus
it seems that apart from any other arguments, the system
of anonymous peer review works serves the scientific
community quite well.

Dr. Berezin might like to note that we do in fact already have
widely read tests of systems where peer review
is not used as the main criteria for acceptance of manuscripts.
For example when editorial teams (and a small number of
referees) play a major role in the decisions (e.g. in Science and
Nature), standards can often be lower than they should be (i.e.
unoriginal work or flawed work is often published).  This is 
because these people are (not unexpectedly) simply unable to judge 
what is novel and/or of interest in the wide range of fields that
their journals cover.


-- Simon



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