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February 15, 1995

Are the Peers Peers?

Author Affiliations

Harvard Medical School Boston, Mass

JAMA. 1995;273(7):523. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520310014014

To the Editor.  —In their article, Drs Glantz and Bero1 suggest that Glantz's initial research applications on tobacco control policies received poor priority scores from two study sections "because their members were not peers." They used this limited experience to launch an unsubstantiated critique of peer review policies. As a member of one of these study sections (Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Health Services Research Dissemination [HSRD]), but not a primary or secondary reviewer of the application, I wish to point out some serious flaws and objections that bias the article's conclusions and undermine its credibility.For the record, the reason the initial application that we reviewed received a 92% priority score had nothing to do with the composition and interests of the study section. The main point, which the authors fail to mention, is that the methods section was only a sketchy description of an interesting,

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