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August 1985

Peer and/or Peerless ReviewSome Vagaries of the Editorial Process

Arch Surg. 1985;120(8):885-888. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1985.01390320009001

Review and judgment by one's peers seem to be inherently if not a perfect system, at least the best of any alternatives. It is the basis of our jury system. It is the most common way to evaluate and provide support for research. It is thought to be the hallmark of a good "peer-reviewed" scientific journal. A jury, however, is formed publicly, the names of study section members are published, and both of these groups act collectively. Reviewers or referees for journals function individually and anonymously. Also, there are peers and there are experts. Experts may hardly be peers or peers expert.

The peer review system for scientific journals has been criticized because it is slow, expensive, and time consuming for many scientists; it also is anonymous, which allows for the possibility of elitism, bigotry, prejudice, difficulty in publishing work by new or young scientists, and delay in publishing innovative

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