Rebound peer review: a viable recourse for aggrieved authors?

Scholarly peer review represents the linchpin of academic publishing. Recognized benefits of the peer review system are manifold. Critics raise several valid concerns that deserve attention. Several studies show that the current peer review system lacks robustness and is subject to bias in favor of well-established research groups and “mainstream” theories. Hypotheses that harmonize with that of the leaders in the field are more likely to be accepted for publication in prestigious journals than heretic or radical ones. Then, there is the risk posed by the potentially unscrupulous reviewer. Alternatives to traditional peer review have been tried but the outcomes fall much short of expectations. Postreview rejection can be equally frustrating for the author and editor particularly when they are victims of limitations of the blinded forms of review. To provide recourse for authors who felt that their work has been rejected not because of the quality of science but because of the constraints of the peer review system, ARS introduces a rebound track for peer review ( www.liebertpub.com/ars ). The rebound peer review track is a two-tier process that represents a hybrid of partially blinded and open peer review systems. The goal is to make sure that every author has the opportunity to rescue their rejected work which they feel may have been victimized by the glitches of the current peer review system. I invite affected authors to make full use of this experimental mechanism so we know whether the rebound peer review should prevail as a viable recourse.

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