Getting Past Peer Review
This is the procedure whereby the author’s completed work is submitted for scrutinizing and examination of individuals who are experts in the field. Usually, this happens prior to publication.
It is largely agreed that the procedure of peer review is extremely useful since it helps establish quality standards. Besides, peer review also enhances the quality of the published paper. Often editorial houses do not have subject expertise; hence they source the peer review to experts in the field. This enables the production of robust and healthy scholarship.
The process of peer review encompasses four broad stages: writing, training in the context of evaluating the texts of the topic, peer review and review by self. Peer review can take place even in classrooms whereby students can review each other’s work.
A majority of scientists feel that the key aim for peer review of applications is to zero in on the most robust research propositions on scientific grounds, hypotheses which are proposed to be tested and the possibility of success of the proposed study method.
Peer review, as it occurs in the academic world, occurs in two ways. The first is the single-blind review method. Here the writer’s name is given to the reviewers. However, the author is not aware of who is doing the peer review. The benefit of this approach is that it permits the reviewers to comment freely and honestly. On the other hand, this approach is criticized because it also enlarges the scope for a great deal of bias by the reviewers.
The other method is the double blind review. According to this method, the identities of the writer and the reviewers are not released. Since the reviewer is not aware of either the author or their institution, it is claimed that the emphasis will be on the substance of the writing, and there will be little bias. Another extremely popular method, which has developed of late is the open peer review method. As the name suggests, both author and reviewers are aware of each others’ identities. The names of reviewers can also be optionally published in the paper. Those who favour open peer review assert that this method is a great deal fairer since if a reviewer is going to be delivering an important opinion on others works, the process should not be shrouded in secrecy. The reviewer will also perform better and avoid irresponsible commentary.
In this new electronic era, even readers have been looped into the process of peer review. Now not just formal reviewers, but also readers can provide their comments and opinions on the work. They can also rate the piece of a numerical scale. This is usually post-publication review; i.e. after the piece has already been published.
By and large, the academic community is very much in favour of peer review because it also acts as a filter process; thereby avoiding publication of work which has nothing new or useful to contribute to the academic community. Authors usually attempt to be published in peer reviewed journals since this increases the acceptability of their research.