chapter  31
1 Pages

Z

An A–Z needs an entry for 'Z', and, a study of peer reviewers in Radiology provides the answer. This journal asks reviewers to rate papers from one to nine. Reassuringly, nearly 90" of the Radiology reviewers were neither assassins nor zealots, but gave ratings within ±1.5 standard deviations of the mean; about 5" fell into each of the intermediate categories of 'pushovers' who generally recommended acceptance and 'demoters' who generally recommended rejection. Radiology uses a computerised database that allows editors to monitor reviewers' average scores and thus select a balance of reviewers. While it is always tempting to consider any reviewer who recommends rejecting writer's submission a biased assassin, they need to remember that, in most cases, the reviewer is only advising the editor, not providing the final judgement. If a writer thinks their paper has been the victim of an assassin, they could use Siegelman's study to support their argument and ask whether the journal monitors its reviewers' performance.