, Volume 26, Issue 12, pp 1385-1390
Date: 05 Oct 2011

From the Editors’ Desk: Peer Review Now and in the Future

This is an excerpt from the content

At Jon Stewart’s rally to restore sanity, held in Washington, DC in October 2010, this sign was prominently displayed (Fig. 1). While we do not recognize the holder of the sign, we would not be surprised if he turned out to be a journal editor. Journal editors disagree on practically every topic imaginable; peer review is the rare exception. To editors, careful prepublication scrutiny of findings by informed peers is an article of faith and a bedrock of scientific progress.Figure 1

Sign prominently displayed at Jon Stewart’s rally to restore sanity, held in Washington, DC in October 2010.

To what degree is faith in peer review warranted? Perhaps not so much as medical journal editors would like. For one thing, peer review rarely intercepts outright fraud. As former New England Journal editor Arnold Relman put it, “Science is at once the most skeptical of activities and also the most trusting…. It is intensely skeptical about the possibility of error, but totally trusting about the possib