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What is Peer Review?

Peer review is ‘a process where scientists (“peers”) evaluate the quality of other scientists’ work. By doing this, they aim to ensure the work is rigorous, coherent, uses past research and adds to what we already know.’ You can learn more in this explainer from the Social Science Space.

Peer review brings academic research to publication in the following ways:

  • Evaluation – Peer review is an effective form of research evaluation to help select the highest quality articles for publication.
  • Integrity – Peer review ensures the integrity of the publishing process and the scholarly record. Reviewers are independent of journal publications and the research being conducted.
  • Quality – The filtering process and revision advice improve the quality of the final research article as well as offering the author new insights into their research methods and the results that they have compiled. Peer review gives authors access to the opinions of experts in the field who can provide support and insight.

Types of peer review

  • Single-anonymized peer review – the name of the reviewer is hidden from the author.
  • Double-anonymized peer review – names are hidden from both reviewers and the authors.
  • Triple-anonymized peer review – names are hidden from authors, reviewers, and the editor.
  • Open peer review comes in many forms. At Sage we offer a form of open peer review on four journals via our Transparent Peer Review program, whereby the reviews are published alongside the article. The names of the reviewers may also be published, depending on the reviewers’ preference.
  • Post publication peer review can offer useful interaction and a discussion forum for the research community. This form of peer review is not usual or appropriate in all fields.

To learn more about the different types of peer review, see page 14 of ‘The Nuts and Bolts of Peer Review’ from Sense about Science.

Please double check the manuscript submission guidelines of the journal you are reviewing in order to ensure that you understand the method of peer review being used.