Reviewers  >  Journal Reviewers  >  What is Peer Review?

What is peer review?

Peer review is designed to assess the validity, quality and often the originality of articles for publication. Its ultimate purpose is to maintain the integrity of science by filtering out invalid or poor quality articles.

From a publisher’s perspective, peer review functions as a filter for content, directing better quality articles to better quality journals and so creating journal brands.

Running articles through the process of peer review adds value to them. For this reason publishers need to make sure that peer review is robust.

Editor Feedback

"Pointing out the specifics about flaws in the paper’s structure is paramount. Are methods valid, is data clearly presented, and are conclusions supported by data?” (Editor feedback)

“If an editor can read your comments and understand clearly the basis for your recommendation, then you have written a helpful review.” (Editor feedback)

Principles of Peer Review

Peer Review at Its Best

What peer review does best is improve the quality of published papers by motivating authors to submit good quality work – and helping to improve that work through the peer review process. 

In fact, 90% of researchers feel that peer review improves the quality of their published paper (University of Tennessee and CIBER Research Ltd, 2013).

What the Critics Say

The peer review system is not without criticism. Studies show that even after peer review, some articles still contain inaccuracies and demonstrate that most rejected papers will go on to be published somewhere else.

However, these criticisms should be understood within the context of peer review as a human activity. The occasional errors of peer review are not reasons for abandoning the process altogether – the mistakes would be worse without it.

Improving Effectiveness

Some of the ways in which Wiley is seeking to improve the efficiency of the process, include:

  • Reducing the amount of repeat reviewing by innovating around transferable peer review
  • Providing training and best practice guidance to peer reviewers
  • Improving recognition of the contribution made by reviewers

Visit our Peer Review Process and Types of Peer Review pages for additional detailed information on peer review.

Transparency in Peer Review

Wiley is committed to increasing transparency in peer review, making it clear to readers the how, what, and why behind editorial decision-making, and we follow a rigorous process to maintain the highest of standards. We are actively exploring various working models to give researchers the option for better peer review and improved accountability, recognition, and reward.

Wiley, Publons, and ScholarOne Manuscripts recently announced the launch of a new, integrated transparent peer review program. The pilot program enables open publication of an article’s entire peer review process, from the initial review to revision and the final decision, in order to bring greater transparency to the research process and recognition to the work of peer reviewers. Alongside the published article, readers can now review a comprehensive peer review history. Each element of the peer review process is assigned its own digital object identifier (DOI), enabling future authors to easily reference and cite relevant peer review content. Our goal is to give journals the option to enable an automated transparent peer review workflow where review content is easily accessible, searchable, and citable, integrated with a journal’s EEO and with the review record on Publons. Authors will have the option to decline transparent peer review and reviewers can choose to remain anonymous. A list of journals included in the pilot is available here.

To learn more about this latest initiative enabling transparent peer review for researchers at Wiley, read our press release and latest blog post, or check out this article from Clinical Genetics and its associated open review content.