Peer review highly sensitive to poor refereeing

Source: 
PhysicsWorld

James Dacey at PhysicsWorld writes: ''Just a small number of bad referees can significantly undermine the ability of the peer-review system to select the best scientific papers. That is according to a pair of complex systems researchers in Austria who have modelled an academic publishing system and showed that human foibles can have a dramatic effect on the quality of published science. <!--break-->Stefan Thurner and Rudolf Hanel at the Medical University of Vienna set out to make an assessment of how the peer-review system might respond to incompetent refereeing. "I wanted to know what would be the effects on peer review as a selection mechanism if referees were not all good, but behaved according to different interests," Thurner told [http://physicsworld.com physicsworld.com].'' See also [http://arxiv.org/abs/1008.4324 the preprint by Thurner and Hanel] at ArXiv.