Since the start of the industrial revolution, communication in science has been the cornerstone for progress and education. That the scientific community itself safeguards these communications is fundamental to the independence of science. We, as members of the scientific community, have to ensure a fair process and the upholding of standards in scientific progress. However, voices in the scientific community question whether the reviewing system is still upholding this essential part of science, that it is ‘broken’. As surprising as it may seem these voices are not new, but have been there since the beginning (Csiszar, 2016), perhaps highlighting the fact that this system can, and perhaps even has, become an impediment to fair publication process.
In an ideal scientific world, bright ideas lead to hypotheses that are tested by performing carefully designed, well-controlled and rigorous experiments. These lead to exciting results that form the basis of a paper that is written and submitted for publication, followed by the rapid receipt of a letter of acceptance.
But life is rarely like that. (Joels et al., 2015).
However, the power is in our hands to ensure that this system works. We all have to contribute to restore good practice in peer review, not only by being ‘good’ scientific citizens ourselves and approach all of our reviewing assignments fairly and seriously but also by training the next generation appropriately to ensure that future scientists also enjoy the intellectual independence the scientific community benefits from through the peer-review process. It all comes down to constructive peer reviewing.