Higher Education Reform

Sense About Science On the Value of Peer Review

September 28, 2015 1148

peer-review-weekPeer Review Week begins today, a week to explore the role of peer review in addressing academic quality and rigor.

To kick start the week Katrina Newitt, the peer review manager for SAGE, spoke with Emily Jesper, assistant director for Sense About Science, a charitable trust that supports people to make sense of scientific and medical claims in public discussion, on the importance of peer review for the academic community. (SAGE is the parent of Social Science Space; Sense About Science is a partner of Social Science Space. This interview originally appeared at SAGE Connection as part of that website’s Connecting with the Community series.

***

Q. Why does peer review matter to Sense About Science?

Over the past decade, Sense About Science has been working to promote an understanding of peer review among policy makers, journalists, social influencers and civic organizations.

Through workshops and discussions, we’ve encouraged researchers to stand back from the system and think of the role that peer review plays in wider society. We want to encourage researchers to share the question “Is it peer reviewed?” with the public. It’s a great first question to ask to assess the status of scientific claims in the media; the status of findings is as important as the findings themselves.

Contrary to the fears of some researchers when we launched our public guide to peer review I don’t know what to believe in 2005, we have found that people understand that peer review is an indicator of scrutiny rather than the final word.

Q. Peer review can be a highly contested topic in the news and within scholarly communities. Do we need alternatives to peer review?

I don’t think so. It’s the best system we have for maintaining quality in science. Why should we leap from individual failures in the system to dismiss the bigger principles at stake? We don’t do that in other systems which fall short of their principles. Lawyers will regale you about court delays and inadmissible evidence. But we don’t say we need an alternative to justice. We ask how the system can deliver it better.

Q. As a community what can and should we be doing to ensure the quality of academic research?

Support for early career scientists to get involved in the peer review process will allow the next generation of researchers to be ready to play their role in scrutinizing research, as well as gain insights into other developments in their research area. Workshops run by Sense About Science and partnered by SAGE and other publishers support early career researchers to find out how peer review works, the challenges for peer review, and how to get involved.


Sage, the parent of Social Science Space, is a global academic publisher of books, journals, and library resources with a growing range of technologies to enable discovery, access, and engagement. Believing that research and education are critical in shaping society, 24-year-old Sara Miller McCune founded Sage in 1965. Today, we are controlled by a group of trustees charged with maintaining our independence and mission indefinitely. 

View all posts by Sage

Related Articles

Universities Should Reimagine Governance Along Co-Operative Lines
Higher Education Reform
May 20, 2024

Universities Should Reimagine Governance Along Co-Operative Lines

Read Now
Striving for Linguistic Diversity in Scientific Research
Communication
May 1, 2024

Striving for Linguistic Diversity in Scientific Research

Read Now
The Power of Fuzzy Expectations: Enhancing Equity in Australian Higher Education
Business and Management INK
April 22, 2024

The Power of Fuzzy Expectations: Enhancing Equity in Australian Higher Education

Read Now
Using Translational Research as a Model for Long-Term Impact
Impact
March 21, 2024

Using Translational Research as a Model for Long-Term Impact

Read Now
Addressing the United Kingdom’s Lack of Black Scholars

Addressing the United Kingdom’s Lack of Black Scholars

In the UK, out of 164 university vice-chancellors, only two are Black. Professor David Mba was recently appointed as the first Black vice-chancellor […]

Read Now
Research Integrity Should Not Mean Its Weaponization

Research Integrity Should Not Mean Its Weaponization

Commenting on the trend for the politically motivated forensic scrutiny of the research records of academics, Till Bruckner argues that singling out individuals in this way has a chilling effect on academic freedom and distracts from efforts to address more important systemic issues in research integrity.

Read Now
When University Decolonization in Canada Mends Relationships with Indigenous Nations and Lands

When University Decolonization in Canada Mends Relationships with Indigenous Nations and Lands

Community-based work and building and maintaining relationships with nations whose land we live upon is at the heart of what Indigenizing is. It is not simply hiring more faculty, or putting the titles “decolonizing” and “Indigenizing” on anything that might connect to Indigenous peoples.

Read Now
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments