Quote: Peer review as practiced today is a form of hazing

I’m citing this 2011 opinion piece by Hidde Ploegh (“End the wasteful tyranny of reviewer experiments”) in a later post, but I wanted to single out this part:

The scientific community should rethink how manuscripts are reviewed. Referees should be instructed to assess the work in front of them, not what they think should be the next phase of the project. They should provide unimpeachable arguments that, where appropriate, demonstrate the study's lack of novelty or probable impact, or that lay bare flawed logic or unwarranted conclusions. They should abandon the attitude that screams: "look, I've read it, I can be as critical as the next dude and ask for something that's not yet in the manuscript", a reflexive approach to reviewing that has unfortunately become more or less standard. Many reviewers are also, of course, authors, who will receive such unreasonable demands in their turn, so why does the practice persist? Perhaps there is a sense of 'what goes around comes around', and scientists relish the chance to inflict their experiences on others.

Shorter version: Peer review as practiced today is a form of hazing.


Ploegh, H. (2011). End the wasteful tyranny of reviewer experiments. Nature 472, 391. doi:10.1038/472391a