Anyone having done peer review is well aware of the process, as can be seen in this example from Oxford University Press’ Nucleic Acids Research: “Upon receipt, manuscripts are assessed for their suitability for publication by the Senior Executive Editors and the editorial staff. Only the manuscripts meeting the journal’s general criteria for consideration are sent out for review, saving time both for the Authors and the Referees. These manuscripts are assigned to Executive Editors who take overall responsibility for the peer-review process. Typically, a minimum of two reviews are required for each manuscript. Referees are chosen first and foremost for their expertise in the field. Referees can also be recommended by the Authors, the Editors and other Referees. Once they have agreed to review a manuscript, Referees have two weeks to submit their comments via our online manuscript tracking system. We aim to reach a decision on all manuscripts within 4 weeks of submission; hence a prompt delivery of the Referee’s reports is essential.”
In 2010, it was estimated that 50 million scholarly articles have been published in the 350 years since the first academic journal was organized. That publication, Philosophical Transactions from the Royal Society began in 1665, “providing a mechanism for the registration, dissemination and archiving of research, it provided the framework upon which peer review would eventually develop.” [Pictures of the first edition are available here.] Stress on the system of evaluation and publication of scientific research can be seen in the very rise of Retraction Watch, which has provided “a valuable source of information that has helped focus public attention on scientific misconduct and the process of self-correction” since 2010...more
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