01 August 2013

Why write an editorial calling for more of the same, but better?

I’m disappointed with a new editorial in Journal of Neurophysiology on peer-review. It talks about innovations like post-publication review, transparency in reviewers’ identities, removing the asymmetry between reviewers and authors... and dismisses all of them.

There are lots of other innovative things that could be done with peer review that are not addressed in the editorial. Why not a dynamic conversation between reviewers and authors, as Frontiers journals do? Why not publish reviews along with the paper? Why not provide easier mechanisms to track post-publication discussion?

The editorial’s solution to peer review woes? “Hey, you reviewers, try harder to play nice.”

That’s worth an editorial? A bland defense of the status quo?

Additional, 10 August 2013: Dr. Isis has read this editorial, too. A snippet:

I find it interesting that Raff and Brown begin by drawing such a dichotomy. The alternative to pre-publication peer review is the lawless, wild west-style world of open access, post-publication peer review. Post-publication peer review happens necessarily at the elimination of pre-publication review and the opposite of peer review is 4chan. I find this to be disingenuous.


Raff H, Brown D. 2013. Civil, sensible and constructive peer review in APS journals. Journal of Neurophysiology: in press. DOI:

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