Definition and purpose of peer review

The peer review process is integral to scholarly research.  It is a process of subjecting research methods and findings to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field. The process is considered essential, but has also been criticized as slow, ineffective and misunderstood. 

The process is designed to prevent dissemination of irrelevant findings, unwarranted claims, unacceptable interpretations, and personal views.  It relies on colleagues that review one another’s work and make an informed decision about whether it is legitimate, and adds to the large dialogue or findings in the field.

General Information on Peer Review

Peer Review
Association of American Colleges and Universities
This is a quarterly briefing on emerging issues in undergraduate liberal education, each focused on a particular topic in peer review.

Office of Research Integrity
US Department of Health and Human Services
This site provides links to several articles including: Peer Review Quick Guide, Northern Illinois University; Ethics of Peer Review, Yale University; and Peer Review Tool, University of Maryland, among others.

Peer Review Policies and Practices
Office of extramural research, National Institutes of Health
This page offers numerous links to peer review news, guidelines, practices, and documents.

Characteristics of Peer Reviewed Literature

Popular Literature vs. Scholarly Peer-reviewed Literature: What’s the Difference?
Rutgers University Libraries
This site clearly outlines the differences in various sorts of literature.

Role of Peer Review

Responsible Authorship and Peer Review
Responsible Conduct of Research (2003-2004). Columbia University
This module is part of a larger course on the responsible conduct of research, and includes an extensive list of references that the authors of the module believe to be most important regarding the topics of authorship and peer review.

Editor Perspective on Peer Review

Reflections of an Editor: Peer Review and Professionalism
Boone, T. (July, 2007). International electronic journal for exercise physiologists, Vol. 10, No. 7
This article is about two important areas of academics: peer review and professionalism in exercise physiology.

Alternatives to Peer Review

Peer Review: Benefits, Perceptions, and Alternatives
Ware, M., Mark Ware Consulting (2008). PRC Summary Papers 4, Publishing Research Consortium, London, Great Britain
This paper offers an overview of peer review, its benefits, critiques, and alternative approaches.

top of page