Peer Review: How Sacrosanct is it, Really?

Our magazine is not peer-reviewed.  We ask expert advisers for their insights into potentially problematic topics or articles, but we don't ask a panel of experts to examine every article that is submitted or that we write. This would appear to leave us at a disadvantage, particularly when some of our competitors are peer reviewed and when new competitors are entering the field almost weekly, and when some industry luminaries will only write for a peer-reviewed journal. But I recently learned of something that made me wonder how much peer review means, after all.  A well respected, peer-reviewed magazine that will remain nameless, published by a highly esteemed organization that will remain nameless, recently rejected a controversial technical article, which talks about deficiencies in the validation of a specific type of technology.  The article allegedly contained independent third-party laboratory data supporting its conclusions. The article was written by an expert member of that organization. We hear that it had been approved by everyone on the board, except for some board members who work for companies that market the type of technology referred to in the article.   "The mortgage doth make cowards of us all," but aren't reviewers supposed to focus strictly on the scientific merits of a technical article, without commercial consideratons? We read of this happening on highly technical academic journals as well.   Some peer reviewed journals I have seen are, despite the credentials of their review board, not all that worth reading.  They're almost like "club magazines."  Of course, others are excellent, but a publication's being peer-reviewed does not appear to guarantee either quality or impartiality. What do you think? -AMS