The process of peer-review in academia has attracted criticism surrounding issues of bias, fairness, and professionalism; however, frequency of occurrence of such comments is unknown.
A member of the AHRECS’ team recently encountered this. Despite being an accomplished researcher, it was an unpleasant experience. We shudder to think of the distress it must cause ECRs.
Overall, 12% (179) of comment sets included at least one unprofessional comment towards the author or their work, and 41% (611) contained incomplete, inaccurate of unsubstantiated critiques (IIUC).
The large number of unprofessional comments, and IIUCs observed could heighten psychological distress among investigators, particularly those at an early stage in their career. We suggest that development and adherence to a universally agreed upon reviewer code of conduct is necessary to improve the quality and professional experience of peer review.
Gerwing, T.G., Allen Gerwing, A.M., Avery-Gomm, S., Choi C-Y., Clements, J.C. & Rash, J.A. (2020) Quantifying professionalism in peer review. Research Integrity and Peer Review. 5(9) https://doi.org/10.1186/s41073-020-00096-x
Publisher (Open Access): https://researchintegrityjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s41073-020-00096-x