The August editorial in Nature Medicine (13, 887; 2007), ‘Why review?’, sets out what the journal seeks in its reviewers, given that peer-review underpins the quality of a journal. It goes on to ask readers how the journal can retain the best in the face of the plethora of requests to review from an increasing number of publications.
From the editorial: “Reviewing manuscripts is a fundamental part of the scientific world. Unlike in other professions, however, scientists give their advice for free. If we were to equate reviewers’ advice with that of lawyers, journals could never afford the cost. So what motivates reviewers to spend large portions of their precious time analyzing the merits of other people’s work?
At the heart of the process, reviewers must have a passion for their area of research and the desire to help advance their field. Propagating a wrong idea by publishing a half-baked paper in a high-profile journal can set a field back and waste both time and resources.”