The peer review process serves a vital role in the publication of biomedical information. When properly functioning, review should focus exclusively on questions of scientific validity and should avoid becoming enmeshed in questions such as "authorization" and "data ownership." We present a case in which the dissenting views of a coinvestigator were suppressed because the principal investigator and grantee institution informed a medical journal that the coinvestigator was not "authorized" to use the data generated by a publicly funded grant and because the editor of a scholarly journal refused to review the dissenting manuscript and to submit that dissent to external reviewers for peer review. The current peer review system, as shown by this case, is unable to embrace dissent within the peer review process and to use dissent to serve scientific truth and the public interest.
Cantekin EI, McGuire TW, Potter RL. Biomedical Information, Peer Review, and Conflict of Interest as They Influence Public Health. JAMA. 1990;263(10):1427-1430. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440100147022