News & CommentScience and the Law

Trial Set to Focus on Peer Review

Science  30 Aug 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5279, pp. 1162-1164
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5279.1162


More than a decade after it first began, a race to patent a biological molecule is about to be decided in a Seattle courtroom. But this will be no ordinary legal contest over patent law. After years of pretrial skirmishing, the contestants and their teams of experts have recently been homing in on an issue that's likely to resonate widely throughout the scientific community: Does the academic notion of confidential peer review—that reviewers are forbidden to disclose or use information they see in an unpublished manuscript—have any legal validity?