Peer review

Peer review is the process of engaging substantive experts to read and comment on new research in the fields in which they study in order to validate and certify that research.

Peer review is an essential dividing line for judging what is scientific and what is speculation. The process screens article submissions and requires that authors meet the standards of their discipline and achieve scientific objectivity. This means that science is more than just another opinion. Read more in Reviewer's Home.

2009 Peer Review Study with Sense About Science

In September 2009, Elsevier partnered with Sense About Science, an independent NGO working to promote the public's understanding of 'sound science' to launch the 2009 Peer Review Study, the largest survey ever international survey of authors and reviewers providing insights into questions such as: Should peer review detect fraud and misconduct? What does it do for science and what does the scientific community want it to do? Will it illuminate good ideas or shut them down? Should reviewers remain anonymous?

The findings were presented in the session "Science Fact or Science Fiction: Should Peer Review Stop Plagiarism, Bias or Fraud?" at the British Science Festival, where Tracey Brown of Science About Science, David Adam of The Guardian and Peter Hayward of Lancet Infectious Diseases debated the challenges of publishing research. Browse the survey coverage below.

Peer Review in Discussion

• Peer Reviewers satisfied with the system Times Higher Education, 9 September 2009

• Peer review reviewed Nature blogs, 8 September 2009

• Peer review under the microscope Chemistry World, 9 September 2009

• Researchers show loyalty to peer review but want a lot more from it Information World Review 8 September 2009

• BBC World Service Interview with Tracey Brown (ca.15 mins into the programme) 9 September 2009

• Sense About Science Survey Asks Scientists About Peer Review Editor’s Update Issue 27 2009.

"Science Fact or Science Fiction? Should peer review stop plagiarism, bias or fraud?", British Science Association Festival, panel debate with Tracey Brown, Sense About Science, Dr.James Randerson, The Guardian, and Dr. John McConnell, Editor of The Lancet Infectious Diseases

• "Quantifying the Value of Peer Review" T.Scott Blog, June 10th 2009. T. Scott Plutchak, Librarian from UAB Medical School. The blog references a talk by David Shulenburger, Vice President for Academic Affairs, National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC)

• Sixth International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication, September 10-12, 2009 Vancouver, BC, Canada.

 "Publish or be damned: peer review, the public and you" AAAS Conference, Hyatt Regency Chicago, Water Tower, Sunday Feb 15th 2009

Seed Magazine's 2008 interview with Sense About Science Director Tracey Brown

•  "Call to scrap peer review in hunt for brilliant ideas" Times Higher Education by Zoe Corbyn, 18 December 2008 

• "Don't Judge Peer Review by its Occasional failings" - Guardian.co.uk Science blog post, April 15, 2008

•  Peer Review in Scholarly Journals - perspective of the scholarly community: an international study from the Publishers Research Consortium, January 25, 2008

• "Is Peer Review in Crisis?" - Perspectives in Publishing No 2, August 2004, by Adrian Mulligan