On SAGE Insight: Peer review: A good but flawed system?

From Journal of Child Health Care

Peer review is a fundamental component of the process of scrutinizing a manuscript. It is not only important for ensuring the integrity of published manuscripts but also in terms of the impact it can have on authors in terms of future funding, tenure and promotion prospects. Despite its flaws, peer review is still seen by many people to be ‘best existing mechanism that ensures scientific integrity of published science’. Peer review is so well established as a process that it is argued that it has ‘become synonymous with ‘‘quality’’’ even though there is little empirical evidence that peer review is able to effectively determine the quality of papers.

As a human enterprise, peer review is inherently ideological: no amount of scientific training will completely mask the human impulses to partisanship. Impartiality is key to a robust process and threats to impartiality threaten the psychological, social and epistemological legitimacy of the process and also impact on the knowledge claims that can be made for the published work. A more recent means of gaining acknowledgement for reviewing is through Publons (publons.com), a system that allows reviewers to track, verify and showcase their peer review contributions. The approach to peer review will undoubtedly shift in the future. However, regardless of how it changes, some form of review will be needed to ensure the scientific integrity of the published work. And undoubtedly, for the foreseeable future, the Journal of Child Health Care will be relying on the altruism of our dedicated reviewers. Read more…

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Article details
Peer review: A good but flawed system?
Bernie Carter
Journal of Child Health Care
First Published August 31, 2017
DOI: 10.1177/1367493517727320

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