With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: the Importance of Rejection, Power, and Editors in the Practice of Scientific Publishing
Lortie, Christopher J.
Budden, Amber E.
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Peer review is an important element of scientific communication but deserves quantitative examination. We used data from the handling service manuscript Central for ten mid-tier ecology and evolution journals to test whether number of external reviews completed improved citation rates for all accepted manuscripts. Contrary to a previous study examining this issue using resubmission data as a proxy for reviews, we show that citation rates of manuscripts do not correlate with the number of individuals that provided reviews. Importantly, externally-reviewed papers do not outperform editor-only reviewed published papers in terms of visibility within a 5-year citation window. These findings suggest that in many instances editors can be all that is needed to review papers (or at least conduct the critical first review to assess general suitability) if the purpose of peer review is to primarily filter and that journals can consider reducing the number of referees associated with reviewing ecology and evolution papers.
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