Monday, March 24, 2008

Editorial Peer Review: Largely Untested, Effects Uncertain

Much of the discussion on open access in recent years has focused on a key role for peer review. It is assumed that peer review is essential for ensuring quality in published research. But is there any evidence to support this view? Apparently not. A systematic review of research on peer review published in the highly regarded Journal of the American Medical Association concluded:

Editorial peer review, although widely used, is largely untested and its effects are uncertain.


Effects of Editorial Peer Review: A Systematic Review. Tom Jefferson, MD; Philip Alderson, MBChB; Elizabeth Wager, MA; Frank Davidoff, MD
JAMA. 2002;287:2784-2786.

Recently cited in: Publishing in Physical and Rehabilitative Medicine Volume 87(3), March 2008, pp 215-220. Frontera, Walter R. MD, PhD; Grimby, Gunnar MD, PhD; Basford, Jeffrey MD, PhD; Muller, Dave BEd, PhD; Ring, Haim MD

Also of interest - Frontera et al. Conclude with this thought under a section called The Future:

The possibility for open access will increase, and this may require new ideas about the funding of the journals. A redistribution of money from subscription fees to page charges paid by universities and other institutions may be necessary.