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Peer review system must be overhauled and improved, say MPs

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d4851 (Published 28 July 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4851
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

The peer review system used by many medical journals before they publish new research is in need of a radical overhaul with more checks, transparency, regulation, and sharing of best practice, recommends a report from MPs.

Prepublication peer review has evolved in a “piecemeal and haphazard” way, says the report Peer review in scientific publications, published on 28 July by the parliamentary science and technology select committee.

The committee has concluded from its inquiry into peer review that to allow clinicians and scientists to follow and build on research findings, they should aim for a gold standard of making their data fully disclosed and publically available.

Peer review is vital to the reputation and reliability of medical research, said the committee, but the system is far from perfect, and the quality of peer review varies …

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