Peer review is a process whereby an author's scholarly work undergoes rigorous scrutiny by experts and independent researchers in the field to evaluate it for validity and credibility to determine if it can be published in a scholarly journal.
One of the criteria for determining the validity and reliability of scholarly research is if it has undergone the peer-review process.
Why is Peer Review Important?
Peer review is an important process in the academic community. It is used in assessing the credibility of the claims made by the researcher so that unreliable ideas will not penetrate the community.
Acts as a Filter
This procedure acts as a means of filtering out low-quality research to ensure that only high-quality research is published.
Validates Academic Publications
It protects the integrity and authenticity of scientific production by validating scientific publications. Only peer-reviewed journals are categorized under the ISI Impact Factor journals. ISI uses quantitative and qualitative tools to evaluate and assess the journals for credibility and validity.
An Opportunity for Suggestions
The peer reviewers are often experts grounded in the field, and they will help suggest changes to the manuscript and map out areas that require more rigorous research or more in-depth explanation.
Single-Blind Review Process
In the single-blind review process, the authors do not usually know the identity of the reviewers after submission. However, the reviewers are aware of the identities of the authors whose work they are reviewing.
In the double-blind procedure, both the reviewers and the authors maintain anonymity.
The distinction between Single-Blind and Double-Blind Peer Review Processes
The level of anonymity in a single-blind review differs from that obtained in the double-blind review process. In the former, the reviewers know the author's identity, but the authors are unaware of the identity of the reviewers.
However, in the double-blind peer review process, the reviewers do not know the identities of the authors of the manuscripts they are reviewing, and the authors do not know the names of the reviewers assessing their manuscript.
The single-blind review runs the risk of being affected by reviewer bias. Biases such as gender, ethnicity, race, and academic status can influence the reviewers' decisions. The reviewers involved in the process can exploit the freedom and confidentiality provided by this procedure to give an unnecessary critique of the authors’ work.
In contrast to the double-blind process, reviewers' bias reduces significantly because the identities of the authors and reviewers are hidden. Thus, the reviewer will have the opportunity to give an honest and objective critique of the authors' manuscript.
According to the result of this study on reviewer bias, in the single-blind review process, the reviewers are more likely to bid on papers from top institutions. They are also more likely to recommend the manuscripts of famous authors or works from top institutions for acceptance than the double-blind review process.
Absence of External Influence
Both review processes are not affected by external influence and pressure. Even though the single-blind review process can be affected by reviewers' bias, the reviewers can critique the manuscript without external influence due to the anonymity the reviewers enjoy in both cases. The reviewers are not under any pressure to give a positive review. And it also safeguards against the conflict of interest with the authors.
Major Steps in the Peer Review Process
The peer-review process often involves the following steps:
1. Submission of Manuscript by the Author
The first step in this process is the submission of the manuscript by the researcher through a journal submission system or by email.
2. Evaluation of the Submission
The journal evaluates the submitted manuscript by the authors to ensure it has met the appropriate initial submission criteria stated by the journal.
3. Assessment by the Journal Editor
The journal editor assesses the paper to ensure the content is relevant to the journal's call for papers theme, topic, or subject.
The editor will also evaluate it for authenticity and originality. If it doesn't meet all these criteria, it can be rejected by the editor.
4. Invitation of Reviewers
After all the internal evaluations by the journal, reviewers are invited by the editors. The reviewers should be carefully selected. They should be experts and independent researchers in the field.
5. Ensure the Objectivity of the Review Process
This should be done by using an objective process. For example, avoid pairing authors with reviewers who share common backgrounds, like authors from the same organization or institution, whether the process is single-blind or double-blind. It will safeguard the objectivity of the process.
6. Acceptance of Invitation
The potential reviewers should be given a deadline to accept or decline the invitation. It will help to know if you can invite another reviewer to take their place.
7. The Review Process
Each reviewer will evaluate the paper several times. However, if the paper does not have the relevant credibility or validity at the initial stage, it will not need to be read a second time.
Afterward, the review should be sent to the journal with points to note and recommendations on whether to accept the submission or not.
8. Evaluation by the Journal
After accepting the recommendations from the reviewers, the editor will access it. If there is more difference in opinion among the reviewers, the editor may invite an external reviewer to get a different view or opinion.
9. Contacting the Authors
The editor will then send the manuscripts alongside the comments from the reviewers to the authors for them to carry out the necessary revision or corrections.
Suppose the revision is minor, when the author sends it back to the editor, the editor can reevaluate it themselves to make sure that the author followed the recommendations of the reviewers. On the other hand, if it is a major correction, the reviewers should carry out the assessment.
Whether you are using the single-blind or double-blind, the peer-review process is a crucial requirement in scholarly research. It helps in validating academic publications by assessing them for credibility.