Evidence matters to the public

Join us on 1st November at Parliament to make the case

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What Works Global Summit. Register now.

Putting evidence at the heart of policy and practice. 26th - 28th September.

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Plant Science Panel

Insecticides, biofuels, GMOs …

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'The Ugly Truth'

by Tracey Brown, director of Sense About Science

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Peer Review: The Nuts & Bolts - July workshop

Our latest peer review workshop for early career researchers took place on 5th July at the University of Sussex in Brighton. During the workshop we discussed the role of peer review for science and the public and considered the challenges to the system.

The participants – early career researchers from diverse fields – shared their thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of peer review, before hearing from a panel of editors and researchers who discussed issues of fraud and research misconduct within peer review; the rapidly changing publishing landscape; and different peer review models.

Peer Review workshop Participants with Irene Hames

The participants raised questions about the peer review process: Does it illuminate new ideas or shut them down? Can a double blind system really work? How do editors avoid bias?

The panel gave tips on how to review: Ask for guidance from your supervisor, aim to complete your review in a short amount of time, and if you want to review then respond to requests promptly.

Following the panel session, participants discussed sharing the status of research findings with the public, and heard from Julia Wilson from Sense About Science who talked about our public guide to peer review I don’t know what to believe.

Over drinks at the end of the day, participants and panellists chatted about their own experiences of peer review, and how they will share the question “but is it peer reviewed?” with the public.

To attend our next peer review workshopin Newcastle on 5th September, email Victoria Murphy.


Workshop audience  Group Work

Articles by participants:

James SteeleJames Steele wrote an article about the workshop and his thoughts on peer review following the July Peer Review: The nuts & bolts workshop for Elsevier Connect.






Partner organisations

With thanks to our partners:

Elsevier, Medical Research Council, PLOS, Sage, Taylor & Francis, Wiley and our host, the University of Sussex.

VoYS pinboard

  • Top tip 1: Ask for Evidence. If you’re being sold a product or asked to believe a claim then you deserve to know whether it’s based on evidence – or imagination.

  • Top tip 2: Detox. It’s a marketing myth – our body does it without pricey potions and detox diets.

  • Top tip 3: Superfood. There is no such thing, just foods that are high in some nutrients.

  • Top tip 4: Cleansing. You shouldn’t be trying to cleanse anything other than your skin or hair.

  • Top tip 5: If it sounds too good to be true… it probably is.

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