Peer review under scrutiny

Royal Society reacts to fears that the public has lost trust in science.

Pat Hagan(phagan@btinternet.com)
Feb 2, 2003

LONDON — Hard on the heels of another body's report questioning some of the benefits of peer review, the Royal Society, the leading academic scientific institution in Britain, is to investigate the peer review process because of concerns that abuses of the current system have dented public confidence in science.

A working party, under the leadership of Society vice president Patrick Bateson, is being set up to review the process and highlight best practices in the publication of scientific literature.

The aim is to examine possible flaws in the current mechanism for peer review, explore potential alternatives and highlight for the general public what to look for when judging the significance of a report on new research.

"We want to find ways of reassuring people that what the majority of scientists do is trustworthy," Bateson told the BBC Radio 4 programme Today last week. "At the moment there...

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