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As Richard Smith reports (April 2006 JRSM1) peer review would be fine if reviewers always gave an impartial, critical assessment when asked—but they may, he indicates, steal ideas, give a good opinion simply because they want to increase work in their field or give a bad opinion because they do not want competition, or other biases.
Long-serving members of research and publication committees will be aware of unreliable reviewers, and one solution to the problem would be to create a blacklist of reviewers found to be unreliable. This should cut down on the problem but would leave open the question of whether there is a better system than peer review.
Competing interests None declared.