What is Peer Review

Understand the role of peer review in scientific research.

Peer review is defined as the “critical assessment of manuscripts submitted to journals by experts who are not part of the editorial staff.”

Why is Peer Review Important?

Ninety-one percent of authors think that peer review improved the quality of their article (Sense About Science Peer Review Survey). Reviewers help authors hone key points, identify and resolve errors, and generate new ideas. Peer review ensures the integrity of science by excluding invalid or low-quality research.

How Does it Work?

The journal editor invites reviewers who are experts in the subject matter of a submitted article to evaluate the article and provide feedback. Reviewers comment on a variety of points such as whether the study is well designed or if the results are too preliminary. The reviewers’ feedback informs the editor’s decision on whether to accept or reject the article. IEEE policy requires at least two qualified reviewers evaluate a submitted article before the editor can reach a decision. (IEEE Publication Services and Products Board (PSPB) Operations Manual, Section 8.2.2.A.4)

The most common types of peer review are single-blind and double-blind review. In single-blind, the names of the reviewers are not shared with the author but the reviewers are aware of the author’s identity. In double-blind, neither the author nor the reviewers are aware of each others’ identity. In both models, the anonymity of the reviewer ensures that the reviewer can give an honest and impartial evaluation of the article.  Most IEEE publications use the single-blind review format.