Peer review in scientific publications – UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee – Eighth Report – 18 July 2011

Posted on August 23, 2011. Filed under: Research | Tags: , |

Peer review in scientific publications – UK House of Commons Science and Technology  Committee – Eighth Report – 18 July 2011
Extract from the summary

“Peer review in scholarly publishing, in one form or another, has always been regarded as crucial to the reputation and reliability of scientific research. In recent years there have been an increasing number of reports and articles assessing the current state of peer review. In view of the importance of evidence-based scientific information to government, it seemed appropriate to undertake a detailed examination of the current peer-review system as used in scientific publications. Both to see whether it is operating effectively and to shine light on new and innovative approaches. We also explored some of the broader issues around research impact, publication ethics and research integrity.

We found that despite the many criticisms and the little solid evidence on the efficacy of pre-publication editorial peer review, it is considered by many as important and not something that can be dispensed with. There are, however, many ways in which current pre-publication peer-review practices can and should be improved and optimised, although we recognise that different types of peer review are suitable to different disciplines and research communities. Innovative approaches—such as the use of pre-print servers, open peer review, increased transparency and online repository-style journals—should be explored by publishers, in consultation with their journals and taking into account the requirements of their research communities. Some of these new approaches may help to reduce the necessary burden on researchers, and also help accelerate the pace of publication of research. We encourage greater recognition of the work carried out by reviewers, by both publishers and employers. All publishers need to have in place systems for recording and acknowledging the contribution of those involved in peer review.”  … continues

Alternatives to Peer Review in Research Project Funding – RAND – May 2011

Summary

“Peer review is considered the gold standard for reviewing research proposals. However, it is not always the best methodology for every research funding process. Public and private funders that support research as wide-ranging as basic sciences, defence technologies and social sciences utilise a diverse set of strategies to advance knowledge in their respective fields. This report highlights a set of established approaches that offer unique alternatives to traditional peer review – alternatives that address many of the shortcomings in peer review effectiveness and efficiency. The appropriateness of these different approaches will depend on the funder’s organisational structure and mission, as well as short- and long-term financial realities. We hope that the information presented in this folio of cards will inspire thinking amongst research funders by showing how the research funding process can be changed, and give funders the confidence to try novel methods by explaining where and how similar approaches have been used previously.”

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