The European Science Foundation (ESF), France, has published a report which reveals some concern on the shortcomings of peer review and outlines some possible measures to cope with them. The report, ‘Peer review: its present and future states’, draws on ideas from an international conference held in Prague in October 2006.
Scientists are questioning whether peer review, the internationally accepted form of scientific critique, is able to meet the challenges posed by the rapid changes in the research landscape. The ESF report showcases a number of options that could lead to greater openness in innovative research. A central theme of the report is that the current peer review system might not adequately assess the most pioneering research proposals, as they may be viewed as too risky. The conference called for new approaches, enabling the assessment of innovative research to be embedded in the peer review system. Participants agreed that the increasing importance of competitive research funding has also added on the pressure on referees and on research funding agencies.
All contributors to the conference report agreed that peer review is an essential part of research and that no other credible mechanism exists to replace it.
Posted by Katie Newman at April 24, 2007 11:03 AM