A journal publishes a special issue on a controversial area of research studied by a rather limited community of researchers. Would it be acceptable for the editor of the journal to use the authors of the papers comprising the special issue as the pool of reviewers, so that each paper is (anonymously) reviewed by two of the authors of the other papers ? Would this constitute a conflict of interest, given that all of the authors will be receptive to other papers supporting this line of research?
Edit: The editor also works on this topic, and it is an area with some controversy. Should the editor include scientists who have published papers critical of this topic in the pool of reviewers, even if he personally doesn't agree with the criticism?