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Peer Reviewed Sources: The Peer Review Process

What is peer review?

How does a paper get peer reviewed?

Why is it important?

Peer review is an editing process applied to research articles before publication. Briefly, the process goes like this:

  1. The author sends their paper to a journal for approval.
  2. The journal sends the paper to other experts in the field to read and review.
    • The experts are the author's peers, thus the term "peer review."
    • If the journal keeps the author and reviewers anonymous, this is called a double-blind review; it helps eliminate reviewer bias.
  3. Reviewers can recommend the journal publish the paper as-is, publish it with edits, or not publish it at all.
  4. The journal sends the paper back to the author if it needs editing.
  5. The author chooses whether or not to incorporate the suggested changes and may respond to reviewers' comments.

This process repeats until the paper is ready to publish.  It may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years to finish editing and have a paper approved.  The process of peer review can be long and difficult, but it’s important: it helps make sure that journals publish authoritative, ethically sound, well-researched and well-written material. Setting standards in this way promotes high-quality scholarship.

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