Molecular Systems Biology | The Seven Stones

What do you think of the manuscript reviewing process?

Here is the answer provided by Kevin Struhl in an interesting interview published a few days ago in Current Biology (Current Biology 2008 18:R7):

“I think it is flawed at several levels. Anonymous reviews assume that reviewers are unbiased, objective and without personal or scientific conflicts of interest; this is not always true, especially in competitive situations, and there is no mechanism to detect such problems. Aside from the potential for abuse, anonymous reviews create an inequality between authors and reviewers that is unfair and scientifically unjustified. At many journals, particularly those run by commercial companies as opposed to scientific societies, disagreements between authors and reviewers are often adjudicated by editors with modest scientific accomplishments and experience. I favor a process in which editorial decisions are made by practising scientific experts, reviewers are identified by name, and the signed reviews and author responses published online along with the paper. Lastly, it is unfortunate that the biology community has permitted commercial companies to control most of the journals. Competition among journals and business-related decisions about scientific publishing has seriously distorted the literature, and it has created an artificial rating system that is used to judge decisions about funding and career advancement.”


  1. Report this comment

    Chris Surridge said:

    Sounds like Prof Struhl should be a huge fan of PLoS ONE then. It isn’t quite his model as anonymous review is still possible. All the editorial decisions are by working academics though and referees’ comments are posted, often signed, for many of the papers. And there is plenty of ways to respond to what the authors and referees have said.

  2. Report this comment

    96well said:

    Let me put another minor criticism: reviewer of NOT-open access journals does NOT have access to journal full content.

    It happen to me my first time I have been a reviewer. I criticize about in my blog Reportergene here: I’m a referee – disillusion