Nature Cell Biology continues its coverage of peer-review in its (free access) April Editorial ‘Good review’ (Nat. Cell Biol. 10, 371; 2008).
After stating the rationale for peer-review, the Editorial asks whether reviewing is essentially an altruistic activity, or whether there are significant rewards for doing it. “The biggest benefit of refereeing is probably to stay engaged with the scientific community in a sort of ‘real-impact journal club’. We review less than a quarter of submitted manuscripts, with the aim of involving referees only for studies that seem worthy of publication. This saves time for authors, and referees know that the manuscripts they receive meet a minimum standard, so that refereeing should be an enriching experience. Nevertheless, the time commitment for refereeing is considerable and we are campaigning to ensure that this is taken into account in assessing research performance.”
Although much has been said about alternatives and enhancements to ‘single-blind’ peer review, what actually constitutes a good referee report? The rest of the Editorial provides some answers, which are further explored at our author and peer-reviewers’ website.