Medical News and Perspectives
November 5, 1997

Medical Journals Turn Gaze Inward to Examine Process of Peer Review

JAMA. 1997;278(17):1389-1391. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550170015005

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QUIS CUSTODIET ipsos custodes? Who will guard the guards themselves? queried Juvenal, the Roman poet and satirist, many centuries ago.

Juvenal's remark was aimed at the dilemma of ensuring the chastity of women. But his query seems fitting for an embryonic field of study that has gained momentum during the last dozen years or so: an effort to investigate how those who oversee peer review, the evaluative action at the heart of the biomedical literature, can themselves assure that the process itself is sound.

To this end, more than 300 participants from 46 countries recently gathered at the International Congress on Biomedical Peer Review and Global Communications in Prague, Czech Republic, organized by JAMA, BMJ (British Medical Journal), and Project Hope. They came to the meeting, the third such congress since 1989, to hear the latest research aimed at answering such questions as whether the process allots credit where (and

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