Explainer: the ins and outs of peer review

Explainer: the ins and outs of peer review

January 25, 2016 2.16pm EST

Author

Peter C. Doherty

Laureate Professor, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity

If you are at all familiar with the operation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) you will know that, while the various authors are (unpaid) professionals of one sort or another with their own research programs, the IPCC itself neither commissions nor does research. Its conclusions are based solely on the information available in the published peer-reviewed scientific literature. What does that mean?

Every research paper that appears in print and/or online will have been read and critiqued (generally with complete anonymity) by at least two scientific peers. This mechanism was first put in place by the Royal Society in the 17th century, and has endured. Read more.