This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to our use of cookies. To find out more, see our Privacy and Cookies policy.

An introduction to the
peer review process

What is peer review?

Peer review is the process used to assess an academic paper before deciding whether it should be published or not. The paper is looked at by experts in the field, known as referees, whose identities are kept anonymous. One or more referees will comment on the quality, originality and importance of the work. This information can then be used by the Editors of the journal to make a publication decision, and by the authors to improve their paper.

Why peer review?

The peer review system is essential in order to ensure that only credible, high quality research is published. It not only improves the quality of published papers, it also ensures that readers can trust a journal to provide reliable information. As members of the scientific community, researchers are expected to referee papers. The referees also benefit from the process as it provides an opportunity to keep up to date on progress in the field and to see new and innovative research before it is published.

The peer review system is used widely throughout the world. The exact requirements of the referees may vary slightly from journal to journal; however the main aim is always to improve the paper and assure the quality of the research. This process is beneficial to the authors, the readers and to the journal itself.

Image inspired by contour maps of proton and neutron densities of intrinsic states of nuclei with cluster or halo structure

Image inspired by contour maps of proton and neutron densities of intrinsic states of nuclei with cluster or halo structure M Žáková et al 2010 Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics 37 055107.


The Peer Review Process