Peer review and psychology and the economy


The role of peer review

  • The aim of science is to produce a body of knowledge through conducting research
  • What else matters is how this knowledge is communicated within the scientific community
  • In psych, research findings are publicised through conferences, textbooks but mostly academic journals
  • However, before becoming part of a journal it has to go through peer review
  • This involves all aspects of the written investigation being scrutinised by a small group of 2/3 experts in the particular field
  • These experts should be objective and unknown to the researcher
  • The main aims of peer review:
    • To allocate research funding- Independent peer evaluation also takes place to decide whether or not to award funding for a proposed research project. This may be co-ordinated by gov funding e.g the Medical Research Council
    • To validate the quality and relevance of research- All elements of research are assessed for quality and accuracy: the formulation of hypotheses, the methodology chosen, the stats tests used and the conclusions drawn
    • To suggests amendments or improvements- Reviewers may suggest minor revisions of the work and thereby improve the report or they may conclude that the work is inappropriate for publication and should be withdrawn

Evaluation of peer review


  • It is usual practice that the peer doing the reviewing remains anonymous throughout the process as this is likely to produce a more honest appraisal
  • However, a minority of reviewers may use their anonymity as a way of criticising rival researchers
  • This is made all the more likely by the fact that many researchers are in direct competition for limited research funding
  • For this reason, some journals may…


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