B – Are editorial peer reviewers’ recommendations reliable?

Kravitz RL, Franks P, Feldman MD et al. Editorial peer reviewers’ recommendations at a general medical journal: are they reliable and do editors care? PLoS ONE 2010; 5(4):e10072 (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010072)

The relation between reviewers’ publication recommendations and editors’ decisions over a five-year period (2004-2008) at the Journal of General Internal Medicine was examined. Among the 2,264 manuscripts sent out for external peer review, just under half received reviews that were in complete agreement not to reject, less than 10% received reviews that were in complete agreement to reject. Reliability of reviewer recommedations at JGIM is low. Yet JGIM editor’s decisions appeared to be significantly influenced by reviewers’ recommendations. Efforts are needed to improve the reliability of the peer-review process while helping editors understand the limitations of reviewers’ recommendations.