Peer Review and Quality

Simon M. Brocklehurst smb at
Sun Jan 21 08:59:23 EST 1996

Alexander Berezin wrote:
> Of course, what is 'garbage' is somewhat subjective
> and disputable. The estimate I quoted ( 90 % ) is
> about the average. I happen to hear (and read) figures
> up to 95 %, even 99 % .
> The true judgement will, of course, be carried out by
> the posterity. But taken into account that half of all
> papers never cited at all and the remaining half is cited
> just once (usually as self-citation), the above estimate
> is not unplausible.

  Your way of assessing the quality of a piece of work (based
on citation searches alone) is not sensible. Surely you must realize 
that it is important to consider things like: originality; elegance of 
experimental design; clarity and completeness of the explanation of 
the work described; contribution it makes to the field; seriousness of any 
flaws in the work.
   The number of times a paper is cited is not trivially related to its 
quality.  Having said that, I am surprised by your statistics that indicate 
half of all papers are never cited, and the other half are cited just once.
An unscientific "citation pole" for a few colleagues does not 
support this claim.
|  ,_ o     Simon M. Brocklehurst,
| /  //\,   Oxford Centre for Molecular Sciences, Department of Biochemistry,
|   \>> |   University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
|    \\,    E-mail: smb at | WWW: 

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