The Importance of Peer Review

In the material we present at this site, we are providing references to established national and international medical journals - not to newspaper articles, opinions of individual physicians, medical center press releases, or drug company information (with very few exceptions that are clearly stated). The reason for this is that the articles ("papers") published in these journals are "peer reviewed". It is worth dwelling on the advantages and disadvantages of peer review, to explain why we consider such information more credible than other sources.

When an individual or group of researchers submits their research paper to a peer-reviewed journal in order to publish it, there is no guarantee that indeed it will be accepted for publication. Part of the acceptance process involves the journal editor sending the paper to one or more reviewers who are experts in the field, requesting their comments. The reviewer is expected to determine whether the research was performed in accordance with standards in the field of research, whether the research supports the conclusions, whether the paper is written clearly enough for the target audience to follow, and whether the paper adds significantly to the existing knowledge in the field to justify publication. Essentially, it is a policing process by which one knows that published articles have been judged by at least a few people in the field to be accurate and relevant.

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Last Modification - September 4, 2004