Reviewing The Reviewers

The Scientist [P. McCarthy, page 1]: Most of us have probably suspected that our manuscripts were being reviewed by ill-informed and unqualified reviewers, but rarely do we get a clear indication that such is the case. Twice within the past few years I have done the same inadvertent experiment by accidentally omitting a pivotal citation from a manuscript. Anyone qualified to review either paper should have spotted so glaring an omi

Arthur Shapiro
Sep 4, 1994
] Regarding the article "Critics Sharpen Assault On Peer Review" in the May 30, 1994, issue of The Scientist [P. McCarthy, page 1]: Most of us have probably suspected that our manuscripts were being reviewed by ill-informed and unqualified reviewers, but rarely do we get a clear indication that such is the case.

Twice within the past few years I have done the same inadvertent experiment by accidentally omitting a pivotal citation from a manuscript.

Anyone qualified to review either paper should have spotted so glaring an omission at once--and flagged it in the review. In both cases I spotted the error myself after the manuscript had gone out for review, then sat back and waited to see if the reviewers would spot it, too.

The two manuscripts had a total of six reviewers, who among them picked a variety of nits. But not one of the reviewers caught the...

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