Peer review – concept, benefits, and limitations

While reading academic articles or heard other articles in general, you must have seen or heard that a particular article is peer-reviewed. The term peer-review means that a particular publication has been reviewed by a peer because the person shares an area of expertise with the author.  Scholarly articles are usually considered by the peers so as to evaluate the quality of the articles submitted.

The practice of peer-review is common throughout the literary domain. The technique of peer review is complicated, and various scientific disciplines are being applied to check whether a document is reviewed justifiably. No article can be approved as peer-reviewed casually, but some controls have been conducted, and if the document meets all the standards, only then it gets sanctioned the status of peer-reviewed.

The editors at the publication houses before publishing any journal send it to several qualified peers to read and assess the quality of the text. After studying the paper, the reviewers give their feedback to the editors. If the reviews are positive, then the article gets published otherwise it is returned to the author.

Scholarly articles need to be reviewed by the peers as once they get published and are out in public domain, they reach to the wider audience. If anything that gets published contains, which is unfitting then the image of the author and moreover the image of the publishing house is at stake.  Therefore; the purpose of peer review is to find the irrelevant information and omit it before publishing any article for public perusal.

Though peer review seems to be a time-consuming task, it ensures the authenticity of the journal published. Though the research is conducted by experienced professionals, still the chances of errors and mistakes cannot be overlooked.

Reviewer plays a vital role as they study the text thoroughly and the editors and authors rely on their skill, and in case, they commit a mistake the repercussions would be deadly. A non-specialist cannot perform the task of reviewing literature, but it has to be done by experts who have comprehensive knowledge of the subject-matter.

Benefits of Peer review

  • Detailed analysis of the available material by experts.
  • Removal of unnecessary information.
  • Fabricated data is detected. Peer review is a good way of checking plagiarism.
  • Unbiased and evenhanded review of the writings.
  • Poor quality of work does not get published at all.
  • Companies hire professional reviewers, who keep a check on the editors so they may not publish anything without assuring its authenticity.
  • The reviewers provide constructive criticism, which helps the scholars to identify their areas of problem.
  • Though it takes time, it saves other costs as the only quality text is approved for publishing, while the inappropriate text gets rejected in the preliminary stage.

Limitations of Peer review

  • First and foremost limitation of peer review is that it is not considered to be the most efficient way of reviewing a text.
  • The authors accuse the reviewers of assessing their work by their social reputation, which means less known authors are neglected, and their work is considered to be of low-quality.
  • The renowned journal publications hire quality reviewers, and their charges are very high. The time and cost involve in the process are way too much.
  • Even after reviewers’ reports, sometimes the editors ignore their views as they hold the power of decision making.
  • Several countries-specific journals do not allow other journals to get published. Usually, the non-U.S journals are not published in the United States of America.
  • Non-uniform reviewing techniques pose a threat to the process as all the reputed journals have their criteria, which may make it difficult for the researchers to meet all the norms.
  • Sometimes, the workload is so much that the reviewer does not give the required time to review a paper and read papers redundantly, which results in failing of the reviewing process altogether.
  • Usually, the review is done by the experts in the same field. Hence the conflicts of interest is a bigger issue, as the reviewers may get biased if any research contradicts their research.

Peer review is a required feature as it maintains the quality of a research paper, but nobody can be trusted blindly with the review, and a scholar needs to know whether the experts who will review their paper are genuine and mature enough to deliver an impartial analysis.


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