Free «Peer Review and the Acceptance of New Scientific Ideas» Essay Sample

Peer review is a technique that is used to asses the work of other people before it is published. The purpose for this is to ensure that the published information is not only true but also authenticated by a team of experts normally referred to as referees. Peer review ensures that the integrity of a certain field is maintained by reviewing the work of other people in that field. Usually, the referees remain anonymous and thus the author may not know who reviewed his or her work. The only person who has the knowledge is the editor who invites the referees to arbitrate the work. In this paper we are going to look at the different forms of peer review and how they work.

Peer Review

Peer review refers to a method self ruling by an occupation or a method of assessment that involves qualified people in their respective fields. Peer review processes are used to preserve principles, improve the rate of performance and provide integrity. The technique is founded on the concept that diverse people will generally find more errors or weaknesses in a certain work and will be in a better position to make an unbiased evaluation of the work than the person or the group that did it. Peer review makes use of the freedom and the anonymity of the reviewers in order to avoid favoritism and hence acquire a fair evaluation. Naturally, the reviewers are not picked from among friends or colleagues of the person being reviewed and they are not supposed to reveal any conflicts of interests.  This technique is used expansively in numerous professional fields such as scientific and academic research, law, medicine and software development just to name a few (Milgrom, Weinstein, Morrison, 1978).

Peer review provides the middle ground and thus ensures that only the most relevant information is put in the work and that the full picture is given (Brow, 2). It requires a group of experts in a certain field who are fully qualified and with ability to carry out an impartial review. It is a good way of ensuring that only credible information or articles are published and thus promotes the integrity of a field

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As already mentioned, peer review is divided into various specific criteria depending on the field in which it is carried out. In this paper we will examine three different types. In the academic circles, the process is referred to as scholarly peer review or refereeing and it is used to determine the suitability of an academic paper for publication. The work of recruiting reviewers lies with the editor. Upon receiving the manuscript, the editor looks for reviews from researchers and other experts who could have expressed a willingness to be referees for that work. As already mentioned, referees cannot belong to a friend or family member of the owner of the work so that favoritism can be avoided. Journals and individual editors most of the time request the authors of the manuscripts to identify experts who they regard as competent enough to arbitrate their work. One may wonder what motivates the referees to offer their time and services for free since they are usually not paid. The reason they do this is that most of them are writers and would need such services at one time. In addition, they have a chance to ensure that only what meets the required standards is published. The process of getting reviewers is sometimes made difficult by the challenge of getting truthfully competent experts. In addition, the fact that reviewers are supposed to be anonymous makes things hard. This is because every reviewer would want other people to know that they are the ones who did refereeing of a prestigious or famous journal but they cannot indicate their names. Nevertheless, reputation is generally recognized by publications and not arbitrating. Research has however shown that researchers are not so enthusiastic about giving open comments (International weekly journal of science, 2006). This does not nevertheless mean that peer review in academic work is less important. Academic writers should be encouraged to participate in the practice to ensure continuity of truthful information in circulation. To tell whether a journal is peer reviewed, one can use the online directory known as the Ulrich’s Periodical Directory.

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Another criterion is peer review in the health circles. In this field, it is referred to as clinical peer review and can further be divided into nursing, physician or dentistry. It examines whether the person under review is qualified to offer medical care. This type has been used the examination of clinical teaching expertise for nurses and doctors. It has also been used in rating medical journal articles. The American Medical Association has used this it not just to improve safety and quality in hospitals but also in the processes where different steps that involve clinical rights may be followed. Medical peer review should be upheld and maintained in order to ensure that all physicians offering clinical services have met the required standards.

The other type we examine is the legal peer review. This type refers to subjecting legal services providers such as lawyers to tests by other professionals in the field to asses their suitability and professionalism to practice law. This is because sometimes unscrupulous people pretend to be lawyers offering their services to unsuspecting clients thereby destroying the reputation of professionals in this field. In addition, even qualified professionals get involved in unethical behaviors which could necessitate peer review. The review could be initiated at the request of a client, another practitioner or even a body that deals with legal matters.. In this field, peer review has a legislative mandate. For instance, a trial by a judge is considered a type of peer review. Legal peer review is important in protecting the public against unethical actions by professionals in the legal field. It also ensures that only qualified practitioners are allowed to operate and thus protect the reputation of the career. Therefore, it should be more vigorous since even in its existence, we still experience dishonest individuals who are either unqualified or qualified but not offering professional services.

As good as it is, peer review experiences some failures here and there. Some peer reviewed articles or journals may contain visible critical errors that undermine at least one of their main conclusions. Numerous journals possess no measures that deal with peer review malfunctions apart from publishing letters to the editor. Peer review as far as scientific journals are concerned presumes that the article being reviewed has been honestly done and the process is not fashioned to identify scams.

In summary, peer review is a process by which someone’s work is authenticated before publication. It ensures that the information brought forward contains no errors and conforms to the required standards according to the relevant experts. This technique is used in different fields of study such as medicine, law and academic writing. To ensure that there is no favoritism, reviewers are picked carefully avoiding relatives or friends to the owner of the article. Peer review plays a significant role in the development of any given field in ensuring that the information given is true.


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