Peer reviewing: privilege and responsibility
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Peer review is a central tenet in research across all disciplines. It is a key feature in monitoring the advance of knowledge, especially in academic publishing. This article investigates the development of peer review from the seventeenth century to the present, and analyses significant aspects of the process. It also attempts to clarify some criticisms and make suggestions about the role of peer review in the current climate. The Rudd government has announced a new system for recognition and quantification of research in Australian universities. The ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) system is slated to replace the struggling Research Quality Framework (RQF) of the previous Howard government. Subject to the Australian Research Council approval of a consultation document, the ERA proposal will be circulated to universities and research stakeholders for comment. In this context, it is timely to consider one of the central tenets of the research process: peer reviewing.
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