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Med Hypotheses. 1999 Jan;52(1):31-6.

Basic philosophy and concepts underlying scientific peer review.

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  • Department of Pathology, Wellington School of Medicine, Wellington South, New Zealand.


The peer review system does not always detect fraud, plagiarism, poor quality or gross error and there is editorial reluctance to correct errors or to publish criticisms of sacred cows or 'controversial' or nonconformist views of sceptics and dissident minorities. Mediocrity is thereby perpetuated, with highly innovative science stifled by the conflict of interest and reviewer shortcomings underlying the review system. The effective court of appeal should be the editor. Self-correction of review procedures is recommended by: (i) improving the editorial quality control of peer reviews; (ii) abolition of the cloak of secrecy and anonymity of reviewers; and (iii) active encouragement of critical debate of unorthodox submissions.

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