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Retraction Watch’s Ivan Oransky asks: Is the peer review system sustainable?

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From Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus at Stat News:

As it stands now, according to a new study, the pool of peer reviewers is able to keep up with the massive number of new papers published each year in biomedicine — more than 1 million, and climbing.

As we and others have argued, peer review is a deeply flawed system, but one that deserves fixing, not scrapping. The latest study does nothing to change that view. It does, however, point to a few simple changes that could go a long way toward shoring up the structure. More.

They recommend paying reviewers for their time, fewer papers, and different forms of peer review, for example, sites like PubPeer.com and PubMed Commons.

It’s worth keeping in mind that peer review seems to have  “just growed.” In its present form, it apparently started after World War II as librarians needed a way to determine what journals to subscribe to, a way that was somewhat more objective and transparent than faculty requests alone.

They never expected it to become Godzilla taking a giant bite out of science (that’s the image chosen at Stat News).

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See also: Peer review “unscientific”: Tough words from editor of Nature

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