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Peer review is a time-tested and important aspect of scholarly publishing. It is the process by which a researcher’s work is rigorously reviewed by his or her peers. This helps to foster conversation in scholarly fields and also helps ensure published works are held to a high standard of excellence. Maintaining diversity in peer review processes helps enhance the benefits of the practice.
In a 2014 paper on the impact of peer review, researchers described the process as “the foundation of the scholarly publication system because it effectively subjects an author’s work to the scrutiny of other experts in the field.” It is an essential process that helps identify issues or inconsistencies with research while adding weight to well-executed findings and conclusions.
In journal publishing, peer review helps add credibility to the journal and content being published. While the process can be cumbersome, it is a useful tool for nearly everyone involved.
Why Diversity Matters
Diversity in peer reviews, as with other aspects of life, is valuable as a goal unto itself. After all, including more people in scholarly communities is a net benefit for the world. However, it has even more positive impacts on the peer review process in particular.
The goal of peer review is to rigorously scrutinize work through the eyes of experts other than the work’s authors. More diverse opinions help make this scrutiny more meaningful and effective. According to an article in JNeurosci, a journal of neuroscience, diversity in peer review “at every level is important to make sure that the consensus of what makes a strong study reflects a broad definition of excellence.”
In other words, diverse voices help make peer review a more universal process. Works are being subjected to a broad and rigorous standard of excellence. That is a positive for the entire scholarly community.