Peer Review and Quality Control in Science

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Book Chapter

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Life and Physical Sciences, Methods in Sociology, Science and Technology

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Peer review is a practice used in the evaluation of scientific and scholarly papers in order to select papers for publication in scholarly journals. The practice has also been extended to other domains, such as the evaluation of grant proposals, medical practice, book publication, and even to such areas as teaching evaluation. The primary area that has been of interest to sociologists, however, has been publication in scientific journals. The practice is usually understood to have begun in the seventeenth century in the Royal Society in London, but it has also been claimed that there have been precursors to this practice. In the popular mind, peer review in science is a means of “bullet‐proofing” research, as a Wall Street Journal article once put it, that is to say as a guarantee of quality. But within science it has a very different meaning.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Peer Review and Quality Control in Science, in G. Ritzer, J. M. Ryan & B Thorn (Eds.), The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology (1st Ed.), John Wiley & Sons, p. 3389-3391