Researchers record the results of their work in academic articles. The aim of these articles is to inform other researchers about research findings and to lay claim to the findings as new and original insights. Such claims are not usually acknowledged by other researchers until the article has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
What is peer review? Peer review is a form of quality assessment. In this context, the word ‘peer’ (meaning an equal) refers to a fellow researcher. A peer review is therefore an assessment by a fellow specialist in the relevant field. Peer reviewers assess whether an article meets certain requirements, such as originality, accessibility and solid substantiation of the results. All academic journals work with a system like this in order to assure the quality of the articles they publish.
If an article is peer-reviewed, you can assume that the information is reliable and of the required standard. In many bibliographic databases you can search specifically for peer-reviewed articles.
If the editor decides to proceed with the article, two or more peer reviewers must be sought. The reviewers may be the authors of articles previously published in the journal, or other researchers who have an established reputation in a particular research field. The selected reviewers receive a letter or an e-mail asking them whether they are willing to assess an article before a certain date.They are only given the title and author(s) of the article, and in some cases an abstract. The editor will always look for reviewers who are fellow researchers and experts in the subject of the article, but also aims for diversity. In general, reviewers will accept a review request because it strenghtens their own reputation in the relevant research field.