In May 1989, the American Medical Association sponsored The First International Congress on Peer Review in Biomedical Publication. This issue of JAMA is dedicated to papers first presented at that congress, themselves greatly modified by editorial peer review.
We at JAMA, considering that publication lies at the heart of the scientific process and that at the heart of publication lies peer review,1 were impressed by the evident lack of research2 into a process that occupies our energies daily and on which we, as editors, are disposed to rely heavily. We recognized that the vast majority of papers written about editorial peer review had been composed in the absence of any data and were editorial effusions that expressed individual biases. Scientific investigations in this field were woefully lacking, and we set out to change this state of affairs.3
Our objectives in holding the congress were simple: to stimulate