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On Peer Review

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000363146.81014.55
Infectious Diseases: Commentary

No researcher likes to have work criticized – and Albert Einstein was no exception. In 1936, Einstein was the world's most famous physicist. He submitted a paper (with Nathan Rosen) to the Physical Review. The editor sent the paper to a referee, and returned the paper to Einstein saying he “would be glad to have [Einstein's] reaction to the various comments and criticism the referee has made.”

Dear Sir,We (Mr. Rosen and I) had sent you our manuscript for publication and had not authorized you to show it to specialists before it is printed. I see no reason to address the–in any case erroneous–comments of your anonymous expert. On the basis of this incident I prefer to publish the paper elsewhere.Respectfully,Albert Einstein

Dear Sir,We (Mr. Rosen and I) had sent you our manuscript for publication and had not authorized you to show it to specialists before it is printed. I see no reason to address the–in any case erroneous–comments of your anonymous expert. On the basis of this incident I prefer to publish the paper elsewhere.Respectfully,Albert Einstein

As it turned out, the referee was right. Einstein later published the paper in another journal—with the error corrected.1

1. Einstein versus the Physical Review. Physics Today, September 2005, pp 43–48.
© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.