Peer review means reviewing the research of other scientists in your field for publication in a scientific journal. This procedure is confidential. Reviewers should abstain from peer review if there is a conflict of interest not only financial but also scientifically.
Pfizer subpoenaed the New England Journal demanding that the Journal produce peer-review and other editorial documents on all manuscripts concerning Pfizer’s cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors, valdecoxib (Bextra) and celecoxib (Celebrex) specific articles that they had published and any others that we had rejected for publication. Pfizer wanted the peer-review documents, including the critiques prepared by reviewers for the authors, to help defend itself in product-liability litigation, the company was not looking for specific information. Pfizer was hoping to use the Journal’s expert reviewers and their critical commentary in an attempt to challenge scientific aspects of the articles, adding what Pfizer’s attorneys called the “significant imprimatur” of the Journal to their case.
the judge decided that while the materials Pfizer sought were relevant, their probative value was limited. As Sorokin concluded, even though the information sought was relevant, “the NEJM’s interest in maintaining the confidentiality of the peer-review process is a very significant one, especially in light of its non-party status, and tips the scales in favor of the NEJM.”
Yoiu can read the whole editorial: Peer Review in the Balance