Authorship of articles in scientific journals is a key parameter in career evaluations of science professionals, and the health of that parameter clearly depends on the peer review process. Unfortunately, that process does suffer cases of misconduct, usually related to conflicts between individuals or groups or to direct malicious interference. In my view, journals need to recognize their responsibility as custodians of honesty and authorship.
Sometimes it seems that authors’ names are subject to more critical review than their work. To avoid that possibility, anonymous review in which the authors are not identified should perhaps become a much wider practice. Transparency and efficiency might also be improved if referees’ comments were published online. Excessive delay in the review process or the transfer of a submitted paper from one journal to another in the same publishing group without retaining the original submission dates has, on occasion, enabled basically plagiaristic papers to be published before the work they plagiarized.
Another problematic area in the process is citations: The right to be cited must be ensured. To help accomplish that, journals could include a comments section in which authors would be able to call attention to papers that do not properly cite their relevant work.