Reviewing Submissions to Journals - Case C2
Anne Baldwin is a postdoctoral fellow working in a highly specialized
area of research on lentiviruses and prions. Her boss, Dr. Sam
Richardson, recognizes Anne's talents and believes that she is the
most promising postdoctoral fellow in his lab.
Anne's contributions have included aiding Dr. Richardson in
identifying a rather obscure pathway by which the prion responsible
for Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, a degenerative brain disorder, emerges
from years of latency to initiate active infection.
When Dr. Richardson is asked by a leading neurobiology journal to
review an article on the pathology of Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, he
decides to involve Anne because of her skills and specialized
experience. He makes a copy of the manuscript and asks Anne to write
her own critical review of the piece, just as if she were the actual
reviewer. This exercise, he reasons, would afford Anne a good
opportunity for exposure to the process of peer review, while putting
her in touch with the latest literature on her primary field of
- Is Dr. Richardson's idea a good one? Why or why not? Are there
other ways for him to involve Anne in reviewing the article?
- Dr. Richardson's motives for having Anne participate in this
manner seem well intended. What might be some negative reasons for
involving Anne in this way?
- What concerns might Dr. Richardson's approach pose for the
author of the article? What issues are posed for the journal in
which the article may appear?
- If Anne feels uncomfortable about Dr. Richardson's request, how
might she respond?
- Assume that rather than sharing the paper with Anne, Dr.
Richardson distributed it to the laboratory's "journal club" for
discussion. What kinds of problems does this scenario pose?