Strange Reviewing

In the July 11, 1988, issue of The Scientist, Rex Dalton discusses whether reviewers should sign their critiques. I have had several disappointing experiences, and suspect that the unknown reviewers of the Anglo-American medical journals either do not know the English language or are all licted with “sleeping sickness” or are gifted with Mach-2 speed. Four examples illustrate this:

1. A paper dealing with congenital disorders associated with sensorineural deafness was sent to a leading otorhinolaryngological journal. The referees blamed the authors because they failed to discuss the Treacher-Collins syndrome, which of course falls in a different medical category.

2. In another journal, authors reporting on a rare syndrome stated that they were aware of only one pediatric case of that syndrome. A letter was then sent to the journal illustrating 17 pediatric cases. But the letter was refused by a reviewer because the topic of respiratory failure...

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