The scientific referee

IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication



In the May 1973 issue of EOS, I criticized tendencies in earth science periodicals to discourage referee anonymity. I stressed that exposing referees to unnecessary personal and subjective influences tended to degrade standards of quality and promoted cliques, fragmentation, superspecialization, and proliferation of scientific literature. Generally speaking, division of opinion on this question, based on letters and personal contacts since 1973, has tended (with notable exceptions) to divide along two lines: the “wise old heads” favor anonymity, whereas many young idealists favor openness. Referees can help keep literature standards high (there is no evidence that they can or do thwart new ideas, determinedly pushed). but they can do little to stop literature proliferation, If individuals do scientific work, they may as well publish of not do it at all. The only real solutions to literature proliferation are fewer scientists or a drastic paper shortage, as experienced in Bulgaria.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The scientific referee
Series title IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
DOI 10.1109/TPC.1975.6591187
Volume PC-18
Year Published 1975
Language English
Publisher IEEE
Contributing office(s) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 6 p.
First page 190
Last page 195
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