Peer-review as the name suggests is the process of checking a researcher’s work by another person expert in that field. The reason for this scrutiny is to check the validity, reliability, and authenticity of the research. Many journals today only accept peer-reviewed research.
In qualitative research peer-review has long been used to validate a research before getting published. The reason for this review is to check that the research that is getting published has quality content and is authentic. Research is aimed at building knowledge in a particular subject area. A fake claim, false or abused research data, or plagiarized content can cause severe harm to science and research. Although peer-review has been in use and is useful in many ways. It also has been criticized for various reasons.
The history of peer-review is very old. The process of review of scholarly articles has been in practice for many centuries. There are records of peer-review even before the scholarly journals came into existence. In the field of medical science the use of reviewing medical practices was common as long back as 8th century B.C. Once the process of publishing work began into practice peer-review was done to check the work that is getting published.
When the printing press came into existence the research work got published regularly. The publishers wanted to keep a control over what should be published and what should not. So the aim of reviewing once work was to decide which work should get published. Later the process of peer-review got more formal shape. Later the process of peer-review became more sophisticated. Publishers starting sending research work to experts so they can check the validity and authenticity of the research before publishing it. Today peer-review is an important part of checking and maintaining the originality of work by all the reputed journals.
Benefits of peer-review
There are several ways in which peer-review helps the researchers and the publishers. Not only to the researchers and publishers but it helps research and science at large in maintaining quality.
- It helps the researchers work hard to produce only quality work so that their work get approved once it is reviewed. The researchers know that invalid, inappropriate, and fake work will not get approval once it will be reviewed by some expert.
- The integrity and originality of scientific work has been maintained due to the process of peer-review. It is very important to maintain the integrity of science. Any advancement in science helps us in reaching new frontiers. It helps the society in different ways and every research aims at solving a problem or authenticating an existing solution. The solution a researcher presents through the research should be authentic.
- It is also a well-established process of validating a research. So there might be many different ways that a publisher can employ to check the validity of the research but peer-review by far is a well-established way.
Disadvantages of peer-review
- If the author and the reviewer know each other the reviewer may try to provide good review just for the sake of maintaining good rapport with the author.
- If the author does not know the reviewer and the reviewer does not know the author the reviewer can become lazy and does not do justice with the review of the research.
- Some reviewer give malicious comments because of some personal prejudice or become dishonest with the review of the material.
- Some reviewers delay the review of the research because they are also working on their own research that has almost similar content and they want to get their research published first.
Process of peer-review
- The researcher writes a research paper or research article and submits it to the publication journal for getting published.
- The publisher get the research checked by the editor to know that the research fulfills the publication criteria. If the editor does not find the research suitable for publication the research is sent back to the researcher and get rejected.
- The criteria for publication if achieved the research is sent to the reviewer for review. The person who reviews the research checks the research for authenticity, validity, and reliability.
- If the reviewer finds the research to be valid and authentic the reviewer informs the publication journal and the research gets published.
- If there are some requirements for revision or changes to be made the publisher is informed of that. The researcher is asked to make changes and once the changes are done the research gets published.
- In case the reviewer finds that the researcher has major issues like, plagiarism, fraudulent data, fake interpretations the research is rejected for publication.
Types of peer-review
In an open review the author of the research and the person who is reviewing the research both know the identity of each other. The researcher finds it useful to know who is going to review the research. This gives the researcher a confidence about the review of the research. The reviewer also feels it a responsibility to complete the review on time. The reviewer provides a just and free form bias review.
In a single-blind review the person reviewing the research knows the author of the research but the researcher does not know the identity of the reviewer. This is sometimes necessary
In a double-blind review both the author of the research and the reviewer do not know the identity of each other. Hiding the identity of the researcher from the reviewer can help eliminate the chances of bias. The reviewer try to check the research honestly without any personal feelings towards the person who wrote the research.
Responsibilities of the reviewer
- The reviewer should have to be honest with the review of the research.
- The reviewer should not give malicious comments because of any personal grudges with the author.
- The reviewer should check the work in a scientific manner. The reviewer should have to be systematic and should follow the scientific standards.
- It is also the responsibility of the reviewer to complete the review on time. This will help the researcher get his research published on time.
- Reviewing other author’s work need time and efforts but the reviewer should try to accommodate for it. The reviewer should take it a professional responsibility to accept the reviewing offer.
- Kelly, J., Sadeghieh, T., & Adeli, K. (2014). Peer Review in Scientific Publications: Benefits, Critiques, & A Survival Guide. EJIFCC, 25(3), 227–243.
- “Peer Review”. Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia.