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J R Soc Med. 2006 August; 99(8): 385.
PMCID: PMC1533504

Peer review: Unreliable reviewers

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.


1. Smith R. Peer review: a flawed process at the heart of science and journals. J R Soc Med 2006;99: 178. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press