Review of peer review published

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Review creates a resource for funders across the globe, bringing together evidence on the use and effectiveness of different peer review processes.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has today published the Review of peer review, a commitment of the government’s research and development people and culture strategy.

A response will be published by the end of year.

Resource for all

The review of peer review considers peer review from the perspective of research culture and is a resource for all funders looking to optimise and innovate their peer review processes.

UKRI commissioned Technopolis to undertake this independent project, which is a synthesis of evidence on different types of interventions in peer review processes, their aims, drawbacks, and impact.

Supporting online tool

Evidence is presented with full reference material and bibliography, alongside an online tool to support exploring and filtering the evidence.

This will help funders designing grant making processes and understand the benefits and potential drawbacks of different approaches.

Potential for change

Thirty-eight interventions or changes to a ‘baseline’ peer review process are examined, including the use of:

  • expressions of interest
  • demand management
  • partial randomisation
  • sandpits or matching events

Recommendations are made for all funders, including:

  • that information technology (IT) systems need to have the necessary flexibility and function
  • that some interventions have the potential to become a ‘new normal’ in order to save burden and reduce bias across the board
  • that funders should monitor any interventions they undertake
  • that investigations into wider research culture must continue alongside the process interventions discussed in the report

Reflecting and evolving processes

Professor Dame Melanie Welham, UKRI People and Culture Champion, said:

This report and associated tool for exploring the data brings together evidence about what works in peer review.

We hope the synthesis will be useful to research and innovation funders across the globe when designing and delivering peer review.

UKRI will be using the findings and recommendations from the report to reflect on and evolve our own peer review processes over the coming years.

Top image:  Credit: fotodelux, E+ via Getty Images

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