As a disenfranchised victim of the peer-review system, I consider that the myriad proposals for modifying peer review are less than encouraging. In his letter “Can Peer Review Be Improved?” (May 4, 1987, P. 10), Moshe Wolman is more than correct when he points out the inhibitory effect peer review has on science. Innovative, creative ideas that depart from dogma are usually given unfundable priorities, especially when dealing with NIH.

In 1985 NIH received more than 30,000 proposals and was able to fund only 19.6 percent of them. Looking at it another way, this figure tells us that only about 20 percent of our graduates are competent people. This terrible waste of human talent, money and national resources is a direct result of the inequitable, politically motivated, club-run peer-review system.

But scientists themselves are also to blame. Privately they complain a great deal about peer review, but never seem to...

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