The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (October 2015)
Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work (peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field. Peer review methods are used to maintain quality standards, improve performance, and provide credibility. In academia, scholarly peer review is often used to determine an academic paper's suitability for publication. Peer review can be categorized by the type of activity and by the field or profession in which the activity occurs, e.g., medical peer review. It can also be used as a teaching tool to help students improve writing assignments.
Professional peer review focuses on the performance of professionals, with a view to improving quality, upholding standards, or providing certification. In academia, peer review is used to inform decisions related to faculty advancement and tenure. Henry Oldenburg (1619–1677) was a German-born British philosopher who is seen as the 'father' of modern scientific peer review.
A prototype professional peer-review process was recommended in the Ethics of the Physician written by Ishāq ibn ʻAlī al-Ruhāwī (854–931). He stated that a visiting physician had to make duplicate notes of a patient's condition on every visit. When the patient was cured or had died, the notes of the physician were examined by a local medical council of other physicians, who would decide whether the treatment had met the required standards of medical care.
Professional peer review is common in the field of health care, where it is usually called clinical peer review. Further, since peer review activity is commonly segmented by clinical discipline, there is also physician peer review, nursing peer review, dentistry peer review, etc. Many other professional fields have some level of peer review process: accounting, law, engineering (e.g., software peer review, technical peer review), aviation, and even forest fire management.
Peer review is used in education to achieve certain learning objectives, particularly as a tool to reach higher order processes in the affective and cognitive domains as defined by Bloom's taxonomy. This may take a variety of forms, including closely mimicking the scholarly peer review processes used in science and medicine.
Scholarly peer review (also known as refereeing) is the process of having a draft version of a researcher's methods and findings reviewed (usually anonymously) by experts (or "peers") in the same field. Peer review helps the academic publisher (that is, the editor-in-chief, the editorial board or the program committee) decide whether the work should be accepted, considered acceptable with revisions, or rejected for official publication in an academic journal, a monograph or in the proceedings of an academic conference.
Peer review requires a community of experts in a given (and often narrowly defined) field, who are qualified and able to perform reasonably impartial review. Impartial review, especially of work in less narrowly defined or inter-disciplinary fields, may be difficult to accomplish, and the significance (good or bad) of an idea may never be widely appreciated among its contemporaries. Peer review is generally considered necessary to academic quality and is used in most major scholarly journals. However, peer review does not entirely prevent publication of invalid research, and as experimentally controlled studies of this process are difficult to arrange, direct evidence that peer review improves the quality of published papers is scarce.
Scholarly peer review has been subject to several criticisms, and various proposals for reforming the system have been suggested over the years. Many studies have emphasized the problems inherent to the process of peer review. (see Squazzoni et al. 2017). Moreover, Ragone et al., (2013) have shown that there is a low correlation between peer review outcomes and the future impact measured by citations. Brezis and Birukou also show that the Peer Review process is not working properly. They underline that the ratings are not robust, e.g., changing reviewers can have a dramatic impact on the review results. Two main elements affect the bias in the peer process.
- The first element is that referees display homophily in their taste and perception of innovative ideas. So reviewers who are developing conventional ideas will tend to give low grades to innovative projects, while reviewers who have developed innovative ideas tend, by homophily, to give higher grades to innovative projects.
- The second element leading to a high variance in the peer review process is that reviewers are not investing the same amount of time to analyze the projects (or equivalently are not with the same abilities). Brezis and Biruku show that this heterogeneity among referees will lead to seriously affect the whole peer review process, and will lead to main arbitrariness in the results of the process.
The peer process is also in use for projects acceptance. (For projects, the acceptance rates are small and are between 1% and 20%, with an average of 10%. In the European H2020 calls, the acceptance rate is 1.8%.) Peer review is more problematic when choosing the projects to be funded since innovative projects are not highly ranked in the existing peer-review process. The peer-review process leads to conformity, i.e., the selection of less controversial projects and papers. This may even influence the type of proposals scholars will propose, since scholars need to find financing for their research as discussed by Martin, 1997: "A common informal view is that it is easier to obtain funds for conventional projects. Those who are eager to get funding are not likely to propose radical or unorthodox projects. Since you don't know who the referees are going to be, it is best to assume that they are middle-of-the-road. Therefore, the middle-of-the-road application is safer".
Other attempts to reform the peer review process originate among others from the fields of metascience and journalology. Reformers seek to increase the reliability and efficiency of the peer review process and to provide it with a scientific foundation. Alternatives to common peer review practices have been put to the test, in particular open peer review, where the comments are visible to readers, generally with the identities of the peer reviewers disclosed as well, e.g., F1000, eLife, BMJ, and BioMed Central.
The European Union has been using peer review in the "Open Method of Co-ordination" of policies in the fields of active labour market policy since 1999. In 2004, a program of peer reviews started in social inclusion. Each program sponsors about eight peer review meetings in each year, in which a "host country" lays a given policy or initiative open to examination by half a dozen other countries and the relevant European-level NGOs. These usually meet over two days and include visits to local sites where the policy can be seen in operation. The meeting is preceded by the compilation of an expert report on which participating "peer countries" submit comments. The results are published on the web.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, through UNECE Environmental Performance Reviews, uses peer review, referred to as "peer learning", to evaluate progress made by its member countries in improving their environmental policies.
The State of California is the only U.S. state to mandate scientific peer review. In 1997, the Governor of California signed into law Senate Bill 1320 (Sher), Chapter 295, statutes of 1997, which mandates that, before any CalEPA Board, Department, or Office adopts a final version of a rule-making, the scientific findings, conclusions, and assumptions on which the proposed rule are based must be submitted for independent external scientific peer review. This requirement is incorporated into the California Health and Safety Code Section 57004.
Medical peer review may be distinguished in four classifications:
- Clinical peer review is a procedure for assessing a patient's involvement with experiences of care. It is a piece of progressing proficient practice assessment and centered proficient practice assessment—significant supporters of supplier credentialing and privileging.
- Peer evaluation of clinical teaching skills for both physicians and nurses.
- Scientific peer review of journal articles.
- A secondary round of peer review for the clinical value of articles concurrently published in medical journals.
Additionally, "medical peer review" has been used by the American Medical Association to refer not only to the process of improving quality and safety in health care organizations, but also to the process of rating clinical behavior or compliance with professional society membership standards. The clinical network believes it to be the most ideal method of guaranteeing that distributed exploration is dependable and that any clinical medicines that it advocates are protected and viable for individuals. Thus, the terminology has poor standardization and specificity, particularly as a database search term.
In engineering, technical peer review is a type of engineering review. Technical peer reviews are a well defined review process for finding and fixing defects, conducted by a team of peers with assigned roles. Technical peer reviews are carried out by peers representing areas of life cycle affected by material being reviewed (usually limited to 6 or fewer people). Technical peer reviews are held within development phases, between milestone reviews, on completed products or completed portions of products.
Extended peer review
Extended peer review is the process of including people and groups with experience beyond that of working academics in the processes of assuring the quality of research. If conducted systematically, this can lead to more reliable, or applicable, results than a peer review process conducted purely by academics.
Peer review, or student peer assessment, is widely used in secondary and post-secondary education as part of the writing process. This collaborative learning tool involves groups of students reviewing each other's work and providing feedback and suggestions for revision. While widely used in English and composition classrooms, peer review has gained popularity in other disciplines which require writing as part of the curriculum. These other disciplines include those in the social and hard sciences. Peer review in classrooms helps students become more invested in their work, and the classroom environment at large. Understanding how their work is read by a diverse readership before it is graded by the teacher may also help students clarify ideas, and understand how to persuasively reach different audience members via their writing. It also give students professional experience that they might draw on later when asked to review the work of a colleague prior to publication.
Critics of peer review in classrooms say that it can be ineffective due to students' lack of practice giving constructive criticism, or lack of expertise in the writing craft at large. As a response to these concerns, instructors may provide examples, model peer review with the class, or focus on specific areas of feedback during the peer review process. Instructors may also experiment with in-class peer review vs. peer review as homework, or peer review using technologies afforded by learning management systems online.
- Schimanski, Lesley A.; Alperin, Juan Pablo (2018). "The evaluation of scholarship in academic promotion and tenure processes: Past, present, and future". F1000Research. 7: 1605. doi:10.12688/f1000research.16493.1. ISSN 2046-1402. PMC 6325612. PMID 30647909.
- Hatch, Robert A. (February 1998). "The Scientific Revolution: Correspondence Networks". University of Florida. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
- Oldenburg, Henry (1665). "Epistle Dedicatory". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. 1: 0. doi:10.1098/rstl.1665.0001. S2CID 186211404.
- Hall, Marie Boas (2002). Henry Oldenburg: shaping the Royal Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bibcode:2002heol.book.....B. ISBN 978-0-19-851053-6.
- Spier, Ray (2002). "The history of the peer-review process". Trends in Biotechnology. 20 (8): 357–8. doi:10.1016/S0167-7799(02)01985-6. PMID 12127284.
- Dans, PE (1993). "Clinical peer review: burnishing a tarnished image". Annals of Internal Medicine. 118 (7): 566–8. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-118-7-199304010-00014. PMID 8442628. S2CID 45863865. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012.
- Milgrom P, Weinstein P, Ratener P, Read WA, Morrison K; Weinstein; Ratener; Read; Morrison (1978). "Dental Examinations for Quality Control: Peer Review versus Self-Assessment". American Journal of Public Health. 68 (4): 394–401. doi:10.2105/AJPH.68.4.394. PMC 1653950. PMID 645987.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- "AICPA Peer Review Program Manual". American Institute of CPAs.
- "Peer Review". UK Legal Services Commission. 12 July 2007. Archived from the original on 14 October 2010.
- "Martindale-Hubbell Attorney Reviews and Ratings". Martindale. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
- "Peer Review Panels – Purpose and Process" (PDF). USDA Forest Service. 6 February 2006. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
- Sims Gerald K. (1989). "Student Peer Review in the Classroom: A Teaching and Grading Tool" (PDF). Journal of Agronomic Education. 18 (2): 105–108. doi:10.2134/jae1989.0105.
The review process was double-blind to provide anonymity for both authors and reviewers, but was otherwise handled in a fashion similar to that used by scientific journals
- Liu, Jianguo; Pysarchik, Dawn Thorndike; Taylor, William W. (2002). "Peer Review in the Classroom" (PDF). BioScience. 52 (9): 824–829. doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2002)052[0824:PRITC]2.0.CO;2.
- KupferschmidtAug. 17, Kai; 2018; Am, 9:15 (14 August 2018). "Researcher at the center of an epic fraud remains an enigma to those who exposed him". Science | AAAS. Retrieved 11 August 2019.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- Couzin-Frankel J (September 2013). "Biomedical publishing. Secretive and subjective, peer review proves resistant to study". Science. 341 (6152): 1331. doi:10.1126/science.341.6152.1331. PMID 24052283.
- Squazzoni, Flaminio; Brezis, Elise; Marušić, Ana (1 October 2017). "Scientometrics of peer review". Scientometrics. 113 (1): 501–502. doi:10.1007/s11192-017-2518-4. ISSN 1588-2861. PMC 5629222. PMID 29056787.
- Ragone, Azzurra; Mirylenka, Katsiaryna; Casati, Fabio; Marchese, Maurizio (1 November 2013). "On peer review in computer science: analysis of its effectiveness and suggestions for improvement". Scientometrics. 97 (2): 317–356. doi:10.1007/s11192-013-1002-z. ISSN 0138-9130. S2CID 16803499.
- Brezis, Elise S.; Birukou, Aliaksandr (1 April 2020). "Arbitrariness in the peer review process". Scientometrics. 123 (1): 393–411. doi:10.1007/s11192-020-03348-1. ISSN 1588-2861. S2CID 211017926. Text was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
- Martin, B. "Chapter 5: Peer review as scholarly conformity". www.bmartin.cc.
- Rennie, Drummond (7 July 2016). "Let's make peer review scientific". Nature News. 535 (7610): 31–33. Bibcode:2016Natur.535...31R. doi:10.1038/535031a. PMID 27383970. S2CID 4408375.
- Slavov, Nikolai (11 November 2015). "Making the most of peer review". eLife. 4: e12708. doi:10.7554/eLife.12708. ISSN 2050-084X. PMC 4641509. PMID 26559758.
- Couzin-FrankelSep. 19, Jennifer (18 September 2018). "'Journalologists' use scientific methods to study academic publishing. Is their work improving science?". Science | AAAS. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
- Cosgrove, Andrew; Cheifet, Barbara (27 November 2018). "Transparent peer review trial: the results". Genome Biology. 19 (1): 206. doi:10.1186/s13059-018-1584-0. ISSN 1474-760X. PMC 6260718. PMID 30482224.
- Patterson, Mark; Schekman, Randy (26 June 2018). "A new twist on peer review". eLife. 7: e36545. doi:10.7554/eLife.36545. ISSN 2050-084X. PMC 6019064. PMID 29944117.
- "Mutual Learning Programme - Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion - European Commission". ec.europa.eu.
- "Social Peer to Peer – Online Casino Reviews". www.peer-review-social-inclusion.eu.
- "What is Scientific Peer Review?". ceparev.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
- "REVIEW BY PEERS" (PDF). A Guide for Professional, Clinical and Administrative Processes.
- Deyo-Svendsen, Mark E.; Phillips, Michael R.; Albright, Jill K.; Schilling, Keith A.; Palmer, Karl B. (October–December 2016). "A Systematic Approach to Clinical Peer Review in a Critical Access Hospital". Quality Management in Healthcare. 25 (4): 213–218. doi:10.1097/QMH.0000000000000113. ISSN 1063-8628. PMC 5054974. PMID 27749718.
- Medschool.ucsf.edu Archived 14 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Ludwick R, Dieckman BC, Herdtner S, Dugan M, Roche M (November–December 1998). "Documenting the scholarship of clinical teaching through peer review". Nurse Educator. 23 (6): 17–20. doi:10.1097/00006223-199811000-00008. PMID 9934106.
- Haynes RB, Cotoi C, Holland J, et al. (2006). "Second-order peer review of the medical literature for clinical practitioners". JAMA. 295 (15): 1801–8. doi:10.1001/jama.295.15.1801. PMID 16622142.
- Snelson, Elizabeth A. (2010). Physician's Guide to Medical Staff Organization Bylaws (PDF). ama-assn.org. p. 131. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 August 2011.
- "Medical Peer Review". Ama-assn.org. Archived from the original on 6 March 2010.
- "Peer review: What is it and why do we do it?". www.medicalnewstoday.com. 29 March 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2020.
- NASA Systems Engineering Handbook (PDF). NASA. 2007. SP-610S.
- Funtowicz, S (6 December 2001). "Peer review and quality control". In Smelser, Neil J; Baltes, Paul B (eds.). International Encyclopaedia of the Social and Behavioural Sciences. pp. 11179–11183.
- Søndergaard, Harald; Mulder, Raoul A. (2012). "Collaborative learning through formative peer review: pedagogy, programs and potential". Computer Science Education. 22 (4): 343–367. doi:10.1080/08993408.2012.728041. ISSN 0899-3408. S2CID 40784250.
- Guilford, William H. (1 September 2001). "Teaching peer review and the process of scientific writing". Advances in Physiology Education. 25 (3): 167–175. doi:10.1152/advances.2001.25.3.167. ISSN 1043-4046. PMID 11824193.
- Baker, Kimberly M. (1 November 2016). "Peer review as a strategy for improving students' writing process". Active Learning in Higher Education. 17 (3): 179–192. doi:10.1177/1469787416654794. ISSN 1469-7874. S2CID 49527249.
- "Benefits of Peer Review". www.southwestern.edu. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
- "What Are the Disadvantages of Student Peer Review? | Synonym". classroom.synonym.com. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
- "Conducting Peer Review – Writers Workshop". Retrieved 20 August 2021.
- Bazi, Toni (2020). "Peer Review: Single-blind, Double-blind, or All the Way-blind?". International Urogynecology Journal (published 9 December 2019). 31 (3): 481–483. doi:10.1007/s00192-019-04187-2. PMID 31820012. S2CID 208869313.
- Tomkins, Andrew; Zhang, Min; Heavlin, William D. (2017) [Composed October 2017]. Fiske, Susan T. (ed.). "Reviewer Bias in Single- Versus Double-blind Peer Review". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (published November 2017). 114 (48): 12708–12713. doi:10.1073/pnas.1707323114. PMC 5715744. PMID 29138317.
- Martín, Eloisa (2016). "How Double-blind Peer Review Works and What It Takes To Be A Good Referee". Current Sociology. SAGE. 64 (5): 691–698. doi:10.1177/0011392116656711.
- Hames, Irene (2007). Peer Review and Manuscript Management in Scientific Journals : Guidelines for Good Practice. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4051-3159-9.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Peer review.|
|Scholia has a topic profile for Peer review.|