Peer Review

Scientists and scholars spend countless hours reviewing manuscripts for journals or proposals for granting agencies. As a result, nearly all new discoveries, findings, theories and scientific speculations are filtered through peer evaluation. Even in education, Massive Open, Online Courses (MOOCs) increasingly deploy peer review to evaluate papers and tests.

This project explores the nature and organization of peer review; and its influence on flows of attention, resources, emotions, published findings in science, and alternatives for assessing quality and promise. To this end, it seeks to illuminate certain conventions in scientific publishing which most certainly influence creativity and innovation. Specifically, we will explore how peer review has changed historically and where the distribution of the review burden has shifted, becoming more or less democratic over time. We will explore the life-course of review, and the influence of the match between manuscripts, proposals and reviewers on their fate. We will also explore the functions that review as a system performs, from sorting and assessing contribution to author education. We will also explore how composition and explicit review criteria influence review judgments. We are performing surveys about the emotional impact of review, and how emotional tone of a review influences revision and selection of those who continue publishing in science. We will examine the variance or reliability of the review process, and consider alternative institutions for the assessment of research quality.