Is the system of peer review breaking down? Perhaps not, but it is certainly beginning to show some ware, at least according to Global Pressure on Peer Review, a report from the Chronicle of Higher Education’s David Wheeler. In his article, Mr. Wheeler discusses a revealing panel discussion at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The panelists were representative of various stake holders and included “a university dean, a journal editor, and a director of publishing for a scientific society” who “offered some insights on peer review and suggested ways to give it fresh strength.”
Emilie Marcus, chief executive of Cell Press explained the process how the editors “at Cell, the press’s flagship journal, wade through manuscripts” to select “about 15 percent of the papers submitted each year.” Linda Miller, the associate dean for basic science at New York University’s Langone Medical Center pointed out that there are now lower privacy expectations among scientists putting added pressure on the anonymity of peer review. And Chris Biemesderfer, the director of publishing for the American Astronomical Society, wondered “why retractions seem to be increasing” and suggested as an answer that its easier to both do and catch “naughty things” in a digital world.