Opening up BMJ peer review

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7175.4 (Published 2 January 1999)
Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:4

Get access to this article and all of bmj.com for the next 14 days

Sign up for a 14 day free trial today

Access to the full text of this article requires a subscription or payment. Please log in or subscribe below.

A beginning that should lead to complete transparency

  1. Richard Smith, Editor.
  1. BMJ

    Papers p 23 Education and debate p 44

    The BMJ has until now used a closed system of peer review, where the authors do not know who has reviewed their papers. The reviewers do, however, know the names of the authors. Most medical journals use the same system, but it's based on custom not evidence. Now we plan to let authors know the identity of reviewers. Soon we are likely to open up the whole system so that anybody interested can see the whole process on the world wide web. The change is based on evidence and an ethical argument.

    Peer review is at the heart of the scientific process yet was until recently largely unexamined. Now we begin to have a body of evidence on peer review (www.wame.org), and it illustrates many defects. Peer review is slow, expensive, profligate of academic time, highly subjective, prone to bias, easily abused, poor at detecting gross defects, and almost useless for detecting fraud. Evidence to support all these statements can be found in a book by Stephen …

    Get access to this article and all of bmj.com for the next 14 days

    Sign up for a 14 day free trial today

    Access to the full text of this article requires a subscription or payment. Please log in or subscribe below.

    Article access

    Article access for 1 day

    Purchase this article for £20 $30 €32*

    The PDF version can be downloaded as your personal record

    * Prices do not include VAT

    THIS WEEK'S POLL