Hot of the heels of the busted “Peer Review Ring” we have this from Nature News:
In April, the US National Academy of Sciences elected 105 new members to its ranks. Academy membership is one the most prestigious honours for a scientist, and it comes with a tangible perk: members can submit up to four papers per year to the body’s high-profile journal, the venerable Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), through the ‘contributed’ publication track. This unusual process allows authors to choose who will review their paper and how to respond to those reviewers’ comments.
For many academy members, this privileged path is central to the appeal of PNAS. But to some scientists, it gives the journal the appearance of an old boys’ club. “Sound anachronistic? It is,” wrote biochemist Steve Caplan of the University of Nebraska, Omaha, in a 2011 blogpost that suggested the contributed track could be used as a “dumping ground” for some papers. Editors at the journal have strived to dispel that perception.
Having control over the review process brings advantages. Those who work across disciplinary boundaries say that being able to choose your own reviewers is the best way to ensure that referees actually understand the material. “Chemists have no idea about glycobiology,” says Chi-Huey Wong of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, who studies the chemistry and biology of sugars.
h/t to Tom Nelson