From the American Institute of Biological Sciences
February 9, 2017

I am pleased to let you know that AIBS has released a new report, “Peer Review: A System Under Stress.” This document is the final report from the December 2016 AIBS Council Meeting, “The Role of Peer Review in Informed Decision-making.”

In recent years, there have been a number of high profile examples of flawed or fraudulent research being published. Simultaneously, many funders have been pressed to limit the amount of money spent on peer review. Adding to these challenges has been an increase in the number of for-profit journals, the frequency of requests of scientists to review manuscripts, and interdisciplinary research that can strain the capacity of peer review panel members. Peer review managers have also been challenged to reduce bias and maintain the integrity of the process. A further strain on the system is that policymakers and the public increasingly demand transparency and open access to data and publications.

Despite some flaws, the peer review system has served us well. Of significant concern, however, is a growing belief that the system is under stress. Agencies are struggling to review increasing numbers of research applications, and journals are struggling to find a third reviewer for articles. The scientific community must allocate more attention to these issues, particularly to the need for improved training, new expectations for scientific community members, and greater research into the factors that inform and influence peer review.

I hope you will take some time to read this document and to share it with your professional communities and colleagues. AIBS is now considering how we might work with our membership to address the recommendations included in this report. If your organization would like to explore ways you might collaborate with us in this endeavor, please do not hesitate to contact me at or 202-628-1500 x 250.


Robert Gropp, Ph.D.
Interim Co-Executive Director
(view copy of original email)

PS: We have just begun the planning process for the 2017 Council Meeting. We welcome your ideas and invite you to join us as we work to address additional issues of significance to the biological sciences community. Please contact me to explore how your organization can work with us on the 2017 Council Meeting, or other programs.