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Methods & Processes
Peer Review and Scientific Journals: A Debate
By: Rachel Grabenhofer
Posted: November 3, 2010
Recently distrust from the scientific community has been vocalized about a process intended to keep honest scientists honest: peer-review. In fact, “I Hate Your Paper” was the snippy title given to a recent article debating the value of this system for scientific articles. Although not perfect, this measure is taken by science publishers to maintain standards and credibility.
"How do you feel about peer review in scientific journals?" Rachel Grabenhofer, editor of Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine, asked readers in her recent editor's note. "We practice this at C&T magazine but I wonder if you find value in it?" Here's how readers responded on a LinkedIn group discussion.
Respondant A: There IS some value in the peer review process but it is by no means infallible, as it is only as good as the actual reviewers employed in each case. ... However, I would argue that the majority of papers are well-reviewed, and that it is certainly better than not having any form of control of the content.
Respondant B: I'm a fan of peer review and believe that it's necessary for any serious scientific publication. I agree that it is not infallible but it's better than not having anything.
Respondant A (additional comment): One thing I missed in my previous comment is the word "independent." It is important that the reviewer(s) is completely independent of the authors, for obvious reasons.