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Michels, R. (1995). Peer Review. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 76:217-212.

(1995). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 76:217-212

Peer Review

Robert Michels

When an article is submitted to any of the Editorial Boards of the International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, it is reviewed by members of that Board and also by other selected reviewers, whether psychoanalysts or relevant specialists in the field the paper covers. This process of editorial peer review is one of the essential guardians of the quality of the Journal and, therefore, of the scientific progress of the profession. In general, peer review refers to the evaluation of a scholarly work by members of the scholar's community prior to its public support or publication. It is central to the social structure of the sciences, is widely regarded as the preferred method for ranking research grant applications (Cole et al., 1981; Smith, 1988), and has become the accepted procedure for assessing papers submitted to the leading scientific journals (Lock, 1985). This is particularly striking because the review process involves a major time commitment by the reviewers (Relman, 1990; Ingelfinger, 1974).

The estimate across a number of fields is that each reviewer spends several hours on each article (Yankauer, 1990; Lock & Smith, 1990). However, the process is valuable to the editor, the author, the reader, the scholarly community, and the reviewer himself. An underlying assumption of the entire process is that publication is expensive, journal pages are limited, and some submissions must be rejected so that others might be published. This is certainly true for the IJPA and for most other ‘mature’ journals (although some less successful journals may be more concerned with soliciting submissions than with screening and selecting among them).

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