Here are some excerpts and opinions of the letter:
" Stem cell experts say they believe a small group of scientists is effectively vetoing high quality science from publication in journals.In some cases they say it might be done to deliberately stifle research that is in competition with their own. "
" The journal editor decides to publish the research paper usually when the majority of reviewers are satisfied. But professors Lovell-Badge and Smith believe that increasingly some reviewers are sending back negative comments or asking for unnecessary experiments to be carried out for spurious reasons. In some cases they say it is being done simply to delay or stop the publication of the research so that the reviewers or their close colleagues can be the first to have their own research published. "
" "Editors should be able to see when reviewers are asking for unnecessary experiments to be carried out and if it's the difference between an opinion of the referee and a factual problem. But what tends to happen is that the editor takes the opinion of an editor rather than the factual substance," he said. One of the main reasons for this, according to Professor Smith, is that journals are in competition. Editors have become dependent on favoured experts who both review other people's stem cell research and submit their own papers to the journal. If the editor offends these experts, they may lose future papers to a rival. This is leading to the journals publishing mediocre science, according to Professor Lovell-Badge. "