B – Peer review effectiveness

Siler K, Lee K, Bero L. Measuring the effectiveness of scientific gatekeeping. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 2015;112(2):360-365
(doi: 10.1073/pnas.1418218112)

This article tracks the popularity of rejected and accepted manuscripts at three elite medical journals. The authors found that editors and reviewers generally made good decisions regarding which manuscripts to promote and reject. However, many highly cited articles were surprisingly rejected. The research suggests that evaluative strategies that increase the mean quality of published science may also increase the risk of rejecting unconventional or outstanding work. Systematic evidence regarding the effectiveness—or lack thereof—of scientific gatekeeping is scant, largely because access to rejected manuscripts from journals is rarely available.