Testing the rebound peer review concept.
Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung
This invited editorial addresses the rescue of the article by Skrzypek et al. "Interplay between heme oxygenase-1 and miR-378 affects non-small cell lung carcinoma growth, vascularization, and metastasis." The work was rejected by the standard peer review system and subsequently rescued by the Rebound Peer Review (RPR) mechanism offered by Antioxidants and Redox Signaling (Antioxid Redox Signal 16: 293-296, 2012). The reviewers who openly rescued the article were James F. George, Justin C. Mason, Mahin D. Maines, and Yasufumi Sato. The initial article was a de novo resubmission of a previously rejected article, which was then reviewed by six reviewers. The reviewers raised substantial scientific concerns, including questions pertaining to the specificity of the findings, quality of the presentation, and other technical concerns; the editor returned a decision of reject. The authors voluntarily chose to exercise the option to rescue the article utilizing the RPR system, where the authors found qualified reviewers who were willing to advocate for acceptance with scientific reasoning. The open reviewers felt that the scientific and technical concerns raised by the reviewers were outweighed by the strengths and novelty of the findings to justify acceptance. The RPR, in this case, was a "success" in that it rescued a rejected article. Despite this assessment, we question the necessity of open peer review as a means to overturn a peer review decision, with concerns for the larger-than-usual peer review process, and the voluntary relinquishing of editorial privilege and disclosure of reviewer identity.