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Book: Research Ethics, Manuscript Review, and Journal Quality
Published by: American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America



  1.  p. 55-62
    Research Ethics, Manuscript Review, and Journal Quality

    H.F. Mayland and R.E. Sojka (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-259-7




How Journal Editors came to Develop and Critique Peer Review Procedures

  1. John C. Burnham
  1. Department of History, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio


Editorial peer-review procedures did not develop to detect fraud or even, originally, to establish the standards and authority of science. Peer reviewing evolved from the need of editors to choose among a surplus of submitted manuscripts and the growing inability of an editor to possess enough expertise to judge quality in all specialized fields that a journal might cover. Referring papers out began as early as the eighteenth century in some forms, but the practice was quite unusual until the twentieth century. Each journal came to the practice in a unique way, and occasional bits of evidence show how journals in the agronomy and agriculture fields are excellent examples of the variety of practices that developed among all scientific journals so that refereeing of some kind was commonplace by the mid-twentieth century. In the 1970s and 1980s, following some sociological investigation of editorial practices, journal editors began to question and critique peer reviewing. By the mid-1980s, general public and legislative concern over grant peer reviewing had intensified concern about wholly independent and various refereeing practices that were grouped together as editorial peer review.

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Copyright © 1992. Copyright © 1992 Soil Science Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, and American Society of Agronomy, 5585 Guilford Rd., Madison, WI 53711 USA