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IMJ. 2015; 7(3): 129-130


PEER REVIEW PROCESSES AND RELATED ISSUES

ISHTIAQ AHMED.

Abstract
Comprehensive appraisal of manuscripts submitted in journals and prioritization of the chosen manuscripts to publish are the pillar of communiqué in medical science. In reality, the peer review is a not an exclusive processes for medical journals but a process of the whole science disciplines. Peer review is a process in which a research paper or project being analyzed by a third party who is not author and neither someone who is competent to decide about the publication of paper or to allocate the grant. Through this process, the research grants allocated, papers are published, academics are promoted and even Nobel prizes are decided. For indexation in prestigious bibliographic database, reliance on effective and convenient peer review process is essential1. The journals that effectively and meticulously manage and maintain their reviewer's database enhance their chances of indexing in database and global visibility in literature2. At the other end, peer review process it is difficult to define comprehensively and critically because the limitations of this process are easy to recognize as compared to its attribute3. The decision of suitability or unsuitability to publish a manuscript requires a “peer review” process. A journal's scientific impact is increased significantly by the involvement of well experienced reviewers which facilitates the publication of high standard manuscripts in journal. The importance of the professional contributions of reviewers, who should be skilled in research reporting, statistical analyses and publishing has been emerged in past few decade 4. Presently, majority of high impact and successful journals have a pool of experienced and devoted reviewers, whereas the other journals are struggling to establish the pool of cooperating experts. The common perception about peer review is that it is one of the most powerful evaluation tool which is reliable, highly objective and a consistent process. Whereas, the other opinion is that it is inconsistent process and difficult to accept that it is subjective 1,5. With the rapid developments in digital technologies, internet and software's, the nearly all features of peer review has changed remarkably. Selection of reviewers has become much easier by online searching the relevant publications. Similarly, the communication with all contributors of the process has also become quick and convenient. Moreover, the reviewers have the facility of online bibliographic tools to comprehensively evaluate the originality, integrity and ethical issues of the manuscript. With the help of these technological evolutions the timelines of review has been reduced to approximately two weeks and up to five weeks for an editorial decision in an average manuscript6. By these accelerated mechanics, the manuscript submissions in journals has been increased exponentially. Unfortunately, so for no comprehensive policy has been proposed to reward the reviewers for contributing their valuable time and in contributing to the integrity and quality of research papers or proposals 7. The one of the important task of the editors is to decide whether a manuscript should be accepted or refused and this is usually accomplished through “peer review” process. Due to this, the journals need to choose the high quality papers from this large number of submissions which leads to the evolution of peer review process to fulfill this need8,9. Nowadays, majority of high impact and famous journals have a team of expert editors and staff to supervise the peer review process and they do not rely on in-house review only. At the other end, most of the journals do not have a large staff and rely on the external reviewers to evaluate the manuscripts. It is assumed that usually an invitation to review from well-known or high reputed journals has been accepted and the reviewers are usually reluctant to accept invitation to review from ordinary journals 9. The peer review process has been criticized for its bias,



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