End the Censorship of Science

Journals should make confidential full manuscript files available.

Richard Gallagher
May 1, 2007

I recently sent a request to the editors of several prominent biological, biomedical, and medical journals. I wanted to better understand the current policies regarding access to full manuscript files ? e.g., correspondence with authors, confidential reviewer comments and ratings, and internal editorial exchanges.

My interest had been piqued by our story in the March issue on a unifying metabolic theory.1 I?d handled the original submission to Science when I was a manuscript editor there, and one of the authors was able to refresh my memory by sending me copies of the referees? reports that he?d held on to for a decade.

His files, however, didn?t include internal documents or ?for editors? eyes only? correspondence. These files were off-limits files back then, even to the authors of the manuscripts in question, and even at journals experimenting with ?open? peer review. I wanted to find out whether things had changed,...



1. B Grant, ?The powers that might be,? The Scientist, 21(3):42?8, March 2007. 2. K. Fodor, ?Panel recommends changes at Science,? The Scientist Daily News, Nov. 29, 2006, www.the-scientist.com/news/home/36969/

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