Although a general medical journal, such as t JAMA, serves many functions, publication of the results of scientific investigation remains primary. And in these days when scientific knowledge increases exponentially, no editor or board of editors would pretend to competence in assessing new observations or hypotheses in every area of medicine. More and more, then, we require the expert advice of consultants as referees.
A recent communication by Forscher1 proposed certain "rules for referees." Forscher's comments stimulated a large number of replies, some surprisingly impassioned. But no correspondent suggested that journals abandon the system of using referees or consultants. Much commentary centered around the question of whether or not consultants should be anonymous to the author; The Journal continues to adhere to the opinion that such anonymity is desirable.
Acting as reviewer for manuscripts submitted for publication is largely a thankless task. Prichard2 has termed the duty of