Nature and Science make a compelling case for open peer review

Lenny Teytelman Sep 11, 2014

Yesterday, Retraction Watch published the reviews of the STAP paper that led to its rejection from Science. Today, Science published similarly skeptical reviews that led to a rejection at Nature in April 2013. The reviews are very thorough. They illustrate just how much we need open peer review the way F1000Research has implemented them.

Of course, now everyone is wondering what happened 10 months after the initial Nature rejection.

Why did Nature have to re-review the same paper, without seeing the reviews at Science (apparently also rejected and possibly reviewed by Cell)? Would Nature really have published the STAP papers if the reviews were visible? Would there have been a scandal if the STAP papers were published along with the accompanying reviews that we just saw? Why are we as scientists wasting our time re-reviewing papers before and after publication? Why is there the misleading stamp of approval and quality when a paper is published in the fancy journals? And why do we always have to wonder if it's in fact a good paper or one of the Arsenic/STAP-type "who knows why it's published here?"

I hear so many bad arguments against pre-prints and open peer review. So, it's nice to see Nature and Science now show us such a convincing case in favor of it.