Summary

Over the years, peer review has developed into one of the fundaments of science as a means to provide feedback on scientific output in a relatively objective manner. While peer review is done with the common good in mind, specifically to provide a quality check, a novelty and relevance check, fraud detection and general manuscript improvement, it has its weaknesses and faces threats that undermine both its effectiveness and even its goals. Herein, I address the role of the various actors in the peer reviewing process, the authors, the editors, the reviewers and the broader society. While the first three actors are active participants in the process, the role of society is indirect as it sets the boundary conditions for the process. I will argue that although authors, editors and reviewers all are in part to blame for the sub-optimal functioning of the system, it is the broader society that intentionally and unintentionally causes many of these problems by enforcing a publish-or-perish culture in academia.

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