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PNAS Nixes Special Privileges for (Most) Papers

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Science  18 Sep 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5947, pp. 1486-1487
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_1486b

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The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) will discontinue an option for submitting papers that often put prestigious scientists in an awkward fix with colleagues and, at its worst, editors admit, allowed some scientists to subvert peer review and shoehorn dubious papers into print. National Academy members, as elite scientists, can "communicate" papers on behalf of colleagues, meaning that a member lines up referees to review it before PNAS ever sees it. This increased the chance of a favorable reception—and looked suspiciously like cronyism to outsiders. Partly because of that perception, PNAS announced last week that it will end the "communicated by" option (known as Track I) as of 1 July 2010. The move will not affect the privileges of academy members to line up reviews before they submit their own papers to PNAS, however.