Editorial  |   December 2010
Reviewers Are Critical to the Peer Review Process
 
Author Affiliations
  • Sheila R. Pratt
    American Journal of Audiology
Article Information
Editorial   |   December 2010
Reviewers Are Critical to the Peer Review Process
American Journal of Audiology, December 2010, Vol. 19, 85. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2010/ed-02)
 
American Journal of Audiology, December 2010, Vol. 19, 85. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2010/ed-02)
Despite its inherent weaknesses, peer review is one of the few mechanisms available to safeguard the integrity of our research and clinical base. The peer review of manuscripts cannot ensure that all of the information in our literature is accurate and valid, but it does limit the number of publications with fatal conceptual or methodological flaws. Furthermore, the quality and clarity of most manuscripts are substantively improved by the peer review process. It can be a very frustrating process for authors (as well as associate editors and editors), but most manuscripts are better in content and presentation after reviewer feedback and revision. It is easy to argue that the current peer review process includes bias, because it obviously does. Moreover, the bias in the process has consequences. It can suppress creativity and limit the publication of outcomes, theories, and concepts that do not conform to current paradigms. It often discourages novice investigators who have new ideas, and it can stifle the work of researchers who are sensitive to criticism. It allows some experimental and clinical approaches to dominate the literature, while other legitimate approaches languish. It also has consequences for securing grants and obtaining promotion and tenure. You only have to go to your favorite Internet search engine and type in “peer review broken” to find a host of science blogs in which the problems with peer review have been discussed extensively.
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