This month’s (March 2008) free-access Editorial in Nature Cell Biology (10, 247; 2008) addresses the journal’s peer-review process: specifically, what the journal does to ensure that its selection process is fair.
From the Editorial:
“A legitimate question for editors at Nature Cell Biology is whether we are considering alternatives to the status quo of anonymous peer review, in particular, why we do not use a ‘double blind’ process (which received significant endorsement in ”http://blogs.nature.com/peer-to-peer/2008/01/researchers_like_the_peerrevie.html">a recent survey of the Publishing Research Consortium). The existing process, based on a thorough pre-selection by five full-time editors and subsequent external peer review by carefully selected referees, works well — individual stories of woe notwithstanding."
The editorial goes on to outline how changes to the system, when being considered, must show a demonstrable improvement to the process. Several of the commonly proposed alternatives to the ‘single blind’ system are discussed in this light (see here for a recent popular debate on the topic at this blog). The Editorial concludes with a summary of the process as currently run by the Nature Cell Biology editors, together with the journal’s planned enhancments.
The editors welcome your views on the Editorial as comments to this post.
Further information about the Nature journals’ peer-review policies are available at the authors’ and reviewers’ website.