Research Ethics Resource Center - Peer review


What is Peer Review?

    "Peer review" (known as refereeing in some academic fields) is a process of subjecting an author's scholarly work or ideas to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the field. It is used primarily by publishers, to select and to screen submitted manuscripts, and by funding agencies, to decide the awarding of monies for research. The peer review process is aimed at getting authors to meet the standards of their discipline and of science generally. Publications and awards that have not undergone peer review are likely to be regarded with suspicion by scholars and professionals in many fields. Even refereed journals, however, have been shown to contain error, fraud and other flaws that undermine their information quality.” Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Why is Peer Review Important?

    Peer review is commonly accepted as an essential part of scientific publication. It provides a foundation for progress in fields of inquiry. Therefore, maintaining objectivity and acknowledging potential biases when called as an expert to review an article submitted for publication or a grant proposal is an important requirement in peer review. Publications and awards that have not been peer reviewed are likely to be regarded with suspicion by scholars and professionals in many fields. However, even peer reviewed publications have been known to contain error, fraud and other flaws that compromise the integrity of scientific findings.


Training Modules

  • Responsible Authorship and Peer Review by Columbia University
    Material covered includes the importance of responsible authorship, the role of an author, the role of a peer reviewer, ethical issues surrounding publication and peer review, and ways to deal with the conflicts that might arise in authorship or peer review. Includes case studies, Q&A and opportunities for reflection.
  • Peer Review Tool Prototype by University of Maryland
    A quick overview of regression models - since the quality of analysis is important during review. Can be used by researchers too, to select appropriate method for their data.
  • Responsibilities of Editors and Reviewers by The Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science at Case Western Reserve University.
    Includes a number of scenarios and questions that highlight the responsibilities of journal editors and reviewers, the problems faced by them, and the implications for authors. The module does not provide guidelines as to what one should do, but it can be useful for stimulating classroom or lab group discussion.


  • Nature's Peer Review Trial and Debate
    Peer review is an essential part of scientific publication. The ways in which peer review is conducted varies across journals and disciplines. Nature provides access to articles that discuss the value of peer review, the merits of different methods of peer review, the ethical concerns surrounding peer review and the use of technology in the peer review process.

Questions? Email our research compliance coordinator.

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