|Year : 2017 | Volume
| Issue : 4 | Page : 237-238
Happy peer review week
Prof. and HOD, Department of Orthodontics, SRMC, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Web Publication||12-Oct-2017|
Department of Orthodontics, SRMC, Porur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Padmanabhan S. Happy peer review week. J Indian Orthod Soc 2017;51:237-8
Peer review week is a global event celebrated between September 11th and 17th.
Many young students and new researchers go through the process of publishing without really understanding what the peer review process is. The origin and evolution of peer review makes interesting reading.
Journal publishing did not always involve peer review as it exists today.
The royal society of London established the first scientific journal Philosophical transactions in 1665. There was no peer review then and the editor decided what goes into the journal. By 1669 experts by the French academy of sciences wrote reports highlighting new discoveries and inventions for the king. Also in 1731, the Royal society of Edinburgh appointed a select group of members to vet material submitted to the society for publication. By the 1800s, single blind peer review was the norm and it was debated whether reports should focus on novelty or scientific rigor. According to Wade's London reviews as cited by Csiszar A2, the perception of these scientific referees was rather unfavorable then and a 1845 exposé in a London magazine painted a picture of them as scheming and full of “envy, hatred, malice, and uncharitableness.”
It was only near the turn of the twentieth century that the scientific community recognized that editors and referees were required as a quality control mechanism with a duty to science. It is interesting though that Albert Einstein was shocked when an American journal sent a paper of his to a referee in 1932. The concept that any legitimate scientific journal needed a formal referee system was concretized in the decades following the second world war.
Thus, the term “peer review” was born, borrowed from the procedures that government agencies used to decide beneficiaries of financial support for scientific and medical research. The peer review system was also supported by technological advances such as the Xerox copier in 1959 and revolutionized by the Internet in 1990s subsequently leading to organized online submission and review systems.
There are various kinds of peer review such as single blind and double blind peer review, collaborative peer review, open peer review, third party peer review, postpublication peer review, and cascading peer review. Double-blind peer review which the JIOS and many other journals employ is a system where neither the reviewers nor the authors know each other's identities. Peer review is an onerous responsibility and serves to evaluate novelty and originality of the work, rigorousness of the scientific method employed and to weigh whether the conclusions and inferences drawn are dependable and significant enough to be shared with the community at large.
While authors may be irked at having their work rejected or criticized, peer review also has the unique advantage of the unbiased insight of a researcher who is not associated with the work and helps in improving the quality of the final output by his/her objectivity. Journals follow the guidelines by international organizations such as International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the Committee on Publication Ethics offers ethical guidelines.
Peer review is not all golden. Despite the best intentions of the system, it is difficult for editors to get experts to review manuscripts in a time bound fashion and decisions made are subject to human limitations. Despite these and other flaws, it is the best system we have today and globally numerous organizations have celebrated peer review week to mark its central role in scholarly publishing.
I think it is appropriate that following this celebratory week, the JIOS acknowledges the time and expertise of the peer reviewer who not merely evaluates but also strengthen a peer's work without any monetary compensation. The fact that the system has stood the test of time is a testimony to the respect that the scientific community has for the peer review process and I fervently hope that authors, researchers, reviewers, editors and others who make up the fabric of our scientific community continue to treat it with the solemnity and dignity it deserves.
“For science must breathe the oxygen of freedom.”
- John Charles Polanyi
| References|| |
Csiszar A. Peer review: Troubled from the start. Nature 2016;532:306-8.