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Science communication under scrutiny

Peer review process to be examined in Royal Society consultation

Helen Gavaghan

The Royal Society is to launch a wide-ranging consultation among scientists, the media, and the public next month, into the best way to communicate the results of original research. In the spotlight will be an issue central to the practice of science—the peer review process.

Under the chairmanship of Patrick Bateson, the society's biological secretary, a working group will produce guidance on best practice, to be published sometime in the fall. It will be sent to anyone receiving funding from the Royal Society and to the fellows, and it will be disseminated to the wider scientific community both within and outside industry. A separate brief is to be produced for the public.

The reports will identify ways in which peer review can be improved to increase public confidence in research. They will also consider alternatives to peer review for assessing the quality of research results released to the public.

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