Professor Alison Smith is the Head of the Plant Metabolism Group at Cambridge University. I spoke to her about her thoughts on the current peer review process.
What do you think of the peer review process? Do you think it helps or hinders research?
I certainly don’t think it hinders research if done properly. In my experience the majority of academics are objective and fair in their assessments of papers and grant applications. The work is judged on the science and then this ensures that experiments are done correctly and interpreted appropriately, with due reference made to other work in the literature. The current trend of journals using editorial office to sift papers before sending to review and only choosing those that are ‘fashionable’ or high profile is not likely to help research generally.