Peer Review

  • Arthur L. Caplan
  • Barbara K. Redman


Many date editorial peer review to the 1752 Royal Society of London’s use of a “Committee on Papers” to oversee the review of text for publication in the journal Philosophical Transactions. Initially, peer review was created to help editors decide what to publish. In the twentieth century it evolved into a system in which qualified peers not only judge publication merit but also evaluate the quality of scientific work including grant applications, conference proposals, books, and academic personnel actions. Today, it is the major tool in scientific self-regulation. It is often undertaken double ‘blinded’ so that reviewers do not know the names of those they review and vice versa. Peer reviewers names for undertaking specific tasks are often expected to be confidential.


Peer review Self-governance 


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Additional Suggested Reading

  1. Ferreira C, et al. The evolution of peer review as a basis for scientific publication: directional selection towards a robust discipline? Biol Rev. 2016;91(3):597–610. (Evolution of peer review as a method of quality control reflects a cultural lag.) CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Walker R, da Silva PR. Emerging trends in peer review – a survey. Front Neurosci. 2015;9(109):1–18. (New channels of pre- and post-publication review are described.) Google Scholar
  3. Knoepfler P. Reviewing post-publication peer review. Trends Genet. 2015;31(5):221–3. (Post-publication review, largely stimulated by the Internet, is thriving.) CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Vercellini P, Buggio L, Vigano P, Somigliana E. Peer review in medical journals: beyond quality of reports towards transparency and public scrutiny of the process. Eur J Intern Med. 2016;31:15–9. (A number of measures could be instituted to improve peer review, including instituting more transparency.)CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur L. Caplan
    • 1
  • Barbara K. Redman
    • 1
  1. 1.New York University Langone Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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