Research News

Journals’ peer review system sometimes overlooks important research

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 24 December 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g7797
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

The system used by leading scientific and clinical journals to judge whether to publish new research sometimes passes over important new studies that later have a big impact, a new paper has found.

The paper, published on 22 December,1 found that the peer review system used to judge whether new studies are worthy of publication enhances research overall but has limits. Under the system of peer review, decisions made by gatekeepers (editors and peer reviewers) can legitimise scientific findings and influence future research. However, currently there is a lack of appropriate, easily available data to gauge the quality of gatekeeper decision making in science, the paper said. In addition, scholars have expressed concern that there is a tendency to protect the scientific status quo, to suppress innovative findings, and for mistakes to be made, meaning that seminal scientific innovations are rejected by …

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