Lung India

: 2012  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 94-

Post-publication review: Will it hold its ground?

Yatan Pal Singh Balhara 
 Department of Psychiatry and De-addiction, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Smt. Sucheta Kriplani Hospital, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Yatan Pal Singh Balhara
Department of Psychiatry and De-addiction, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Smt. Sucheta Kriplani Hospital, New Delhi

How to cite this article:
Balhara YP. Post-publication review: Will it hold its ground?.Lung India 2012;29:94-94

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Balhara YP. Post-publication review: Will it hold its ground?. Lung India [serial online] 2012 [cited 2020 Jan 29 ];29:94-94
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Scientific publication merits a certain level of credibility. Peer review of the manuscripts submitted to the journals is an important step in publication process. [1] It is a process whereby qualified individuals in the relevant field assess the work submitted by a peer. In other words, it is a process whereby an author's scholarly work is put to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field. Peer review helps improve the quality of published manuscripts.

While peer review is a norm in medical publishing it has its own share of criticism. The debate on relevance of peer review was put into perspective by Rennie et al in a 2003 editorial for JAMA. [2] The editors mentioned that "there seems to be no study too fragmented, no hypothesis too trivial, no literature too biased or too egotistical, no design too warped, no methodology too bungled, no presentation of results too inaccurate, too obscure, and too contradictory, no analysis too self-serving, no argument too circular, no conclusions too trifling or too unjustified, and no grammar and syntax too offensive for a paper to end up in print." Surprisingly aimed at enhancing the scientific rigorousness, the process itself has never been systematically studied for evidence of its effectiveness. Cochrane Collaboration has reported that 'little empirical evidence to support the use of editorial peer review as a mechanism to ensure quality of biomedical research......'. [3]

Peer review has been criticised for being time consuming. This leads to a delay in publication of the work. Post-publication review has been cited as a possible solution to this delay.

In post-publication review the manuscript submitted by the author gets published (usually online) following some preliminary evaluation. However, detailed review is carried out subsequent to publication. This approach helps speedy publication of research findings. It also allows inputs from a wider audience (as opposed to a few peer reviewers in traditional approach). Any reader can instantly publish a peer review on any published paper. If the criticism in the accumulated reviews and the importance of the paper justify it, the authors are given the option to revise their paper.

Some acceptance has been reported about this process. Concordance has been reported between the post-publication review rating and traditional prepublication review based Impact Factor (IF) rating. An analysis of 2,500 neurobiology articles revealed a very strong correlation (r=0.93) between average F1000 (Faculty of 1000- a post-publication rating system) rating and the journal's impact factor. [4] It has been argued that post-publication review helps assess an individual article on its own merit rather than that of the journal as a whole.

However, this approach has been criticised for different reasons. Not all attempts at post-publication review have met with success. The e-Letters system of The Royal Society has not proven to be particularly popular as "remarkably few people choose to use it". [5] Editors have even opined that post-publication review would not 'act as substitute' for pre publication peer review. [5]

It remains to be seen whether post-publication review would add to the quality and efficiency of scientific review process.


1Singh V. Let us all join hands in strengthening the publication process. Lung India 2011;28:237.
2Rennie D, Flanagin A, Smith R, Smith J. Fifth International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication: Call for Research. JAMA 2003;289:1438.
3Jefferson T, Rudin M, Brodney Folse S, Davidoff F. Editorial peer review for improving the quality of reports of biomedical studies. Cochrane Database of Sytematic Reviews 2007;2:MR000016.
4Revolutionizing peer review? Nat Neurosci 2005;8:397.
5House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. Peer review in scientific publications. Eighth Report of Session 2010-12, House of Commons London: The Stationery Office Limited, London. Available from: [Last accessed on 2011].