Rethinking peer reviewed science

I just read a thought-provoking and controversial article in Nature News by Hidde Ploegh, a professor of biology at the Whitehead Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

In “End the wasteful tyranny of reviewer experiments”, Dr. Ploegh argues that the current peer-review process practiced at many high-impact journals is plagued by unnecessary requests for authors to perform wasteful follow up experiments that negilgently delay otherwise justified publication.

Ploegh suggests that reviewer requests are motivated by the attitude that

look, I’ve read it, I can be as critical as the next dude and ask for something that’s not yet in the manuscript

and the feeling that since the reviewers themselves have been subjected to such unreasonable demands, they are simply dishing out their share of ‘what goes around comes around’.

In order to correct this problem, Ploegh suggests that

  1. journals start employing editors who are subject matter experts capable of over-ruling reviewers when necessary
  2. reviewers consider the extra costs that will be incurred by their request for additional experiments
  3. editors decision to go forward with a publication be based on readership demand with reviewer input limited to analyzing the logic or execution of the study

I believe that these suggestions are a welcome breath of fresh air to the young scientific community and will go a long way to speeding up the pace of progress and innovation in academic science.

What are your thoughts?

One Response to “Rethinking peer reviewed science”

  1. Jerad L says:

    I believe the biggest reason to do away with the current peer review set-up is that it stops unpopular ideas from being published despite the support of the actual science. If you have evidence blowing up everyone’s favorite theories they feel protective of you won’t get published despite the evidence in the work.

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