Reer Review: More Points

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Tue Jan 23 13:24:44 EST 1996

On 23 Jan 1996, Keith Robison wrote:

[ snip ]

> I know from my own major paper that one
> reviewer indeed made us rethink a major portion of our
> analysis, and we were much the better for it.


Just fine. But so can any sensible and knowledgable
colleauge whom you can show your draft YOURSELF
(not through the jounal editor). And you always know
best who else know your work. (if you think that the 
Editor knows your work better than you than your
trouble is on another end). Such SELF-ADMISISTERED 
PEER REVIEW is much better than the present system 
(even regardless on anonymity issue), as it developes
trust and cooperation instead suspition and adversity.    

> With peer review, the chances that the Methods section
> is actually written understandbly (and reproducibly) is
> raised, the probability that data has been correctly
> described is raised, the probability that terms have
> been used carefully is raised, etc, etc. Berezin loves
> to forget that a peer reviewer is an assistant editor
> who is specifically qualified in the field in question;
> that is their important role.  Perhaps some workers
> perform funny stuff to get their work past the editor,
> but in the absence of hard statistics it is impossible
> to judge this effect accurately.


IF the prime function of peer review was INDEED to HELF 
the authors to achieve better lucidity of presentations
than no one of us would object it. Even anonymity may
not be an issue if, I repeat, IF, the prime function of
peer review was to ASSIST the author(s) to improve the
paper and only in exteremely rare occasions to reject
a paper (when unprofessionalism is obvious and can't
be corrected). Needless to say, that the present APR
system is light years away from this scenario.  

Alexander A. Berezin, PhD
Department of Engineering Physics
McMaster University, Hamilton,
Ontario, Canada, L8S 4L7
tel. (905) 525-9140 ext. 24546

> Keith Robison
> Harvard University
> Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology
> Department of Genetics 
> robison at 

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