Editorial: Peer Reviewers Make it All Possible at Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®
The year 2015 was a stormy one in biomedical publishing. A peer-review fraud ring resulted in the retraction of hundreds of manuscripts from dozens of journals . A major medical journal fired an editor (and a peer reviewer)  for suggesting to an author group that their paper would benefit from adding male authors to its roster . And yet-another fake-article scandal came to light, this latest one involving a paper entitled “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs? The Surgical and Neoplastic Role of Cacao Extract in Breakfast Cereal.” Created by a random-text generator and putatively authored by Pinkerton LeBrain and Orson Welles, this paper managed to slip by the referees at numerous open-access scientific journals [4, 6].
Major media outlets covered all of these stories, suggesting that they indeed are high-profile events and not mere riffles in the backeddies of science’s main stream. In fact, Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research® received several papers associated with the reviewer-fraud ring , but we quickly detected and rejected all of them. Identifying the faux reviews was easier here than at many other journals because their poor quality stood out as anomalous among the first-rate analyses that CORR’s peer reviewers send us every day; the fraudsters’ slipshod work was easy to identify.
In the wake of these events, we at CORR® remain ever more grateful to our peer reviewers. This was another busy year here, and more than 1500 reviewers helped us to get the science right. Their contributions are the bedrock of our Journal’s quality; nothing here is possible without their considerable efforts. And once again, we especially thank those select few whose efforts earned them spots on our “Top Reviewer” lineup. The “Top Reviewer” roster reflects extraordinary commitment as well as high-quality work. To make this list, a referee needed to complete four or more reviews between September 2014 and August 2015, and to have an average review score in the “excellent” range. This list represents about 3% of those who reviewed for us last year. We thank all our reviewers for their considerable contributions, and we congratulate the “Top Reviewers” for their particular accomplishment in an Acknowledgement at the end of this issue (DOI 10.1007/s11999-015-4574-5).
The world of biomedical publishing may be turbulent, but because of the efforts of our reviewers, CORR® continues to hit new highs. In 2015, our Journal saw increases in its 5-year Impact Factor, Eigenfactor, and Immediacy Index; we also are on track to far surpass our previous best mark—set in 2014—in article downloads, at about 2 million for the calendar year.
Peer reviewers make it all possible.