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Stem cell researchers claim some reviewers hamper publication of high quality research

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 04 February 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c719
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

    Leading stem cell researchers have expressed concern that some reviewers may be hampering publication of high quality research in the field and are calling for a more open process of review to prevent this.

    Their concerns echo those expressed in a letter sent last summer to the editors of science journals by 10 stem cell researchers from around the world. The letter claimed that “papers that are scientifically flawed or comprise only modest technical increments often attract undue profile. At the same time publication of truly original findings may be delayed or rejected” (

    The letter followed a major conference, the EuroSyStem/European Molecular Biology Organisation Conference on Advances in Stem Cell Research, at which researchers shared their frustration at sometimes receiving what they considered to be “unreasonable or obstructive reviews.” To improve the situation, they proposed that when a paper is published, the reviews, response to reviews and associated editorial correspondence could be provided as supplementary information, while preserving anonymity of the referees.

    Speaking to the BBC about the issue this week, Austin Smith, director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell …

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