What is “peer review”?

peer_reviewWe write a lot on this blog about finding, reading, and evaluating research articles and this post is about understanding the meaning of “peer review” in the context of scholarly publishing.

When we teach students about research methods during orientation, in their classrooms, and during one-on-one consultations, we always introduce the concept of scholarly vs. popular literature. That is, the difference between articles written by and for other researchers, and articles written by journalists and other types of authors for the general public (magazine and newspaper articles for example).

Most scholarly articles have gone through a peer review process, where one or more experts have evaluated the study and given it a stamp of approval. It is now ready for publication and use by other researchers to build upon the ideas in the study. This is just meant as a very lean preamble to a more in-depth article about peer review on the website boing boing. This easy to understand article is part of Meet Science, a series intended to “provid[e] quick run-downs of oft-referenced concepts, controversies, and tools that aren’t always well-explained by the media.” The article is succinct and attempts to answer some pertinent questions about the peer review process. I hope you find it helpful.

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