Peer review of human studies run amok: a break in the fiduciary relation between scientists and the public.
Additional Document Info
Peer review aims to ensure the quality and credibility of research reporting. Conducted by volunteer scientists who receive no guidance or direction, peer review widely varies from fast and facilitative, to unclear and obstructive. Poor quality is an issue because most science research is publicly funded, whereby scientists must make an effort to quickly disseminate their findings back to the public. An unfortunately not uncommon barrier in this process is ineffective peer review. Most scientists agree that when done well, editors and reviewers drive and maintain the high standards of science. At the same time, ineffective peer review can cause great delay with no introduced improvement in final product. These delays and requests interfere with the path of communication between scientist and public, at a great cost to editors, reviewers, authors and those who stand to benefit from application of the results of the studies. We offer a series of concrete recommendations to improve this process.