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Peer review: the nuts and bolts

This is a nuts and bolts guide to peer review for early career researchers written by members of the VoYS network.

Peer review: the nuts and bolts

Read the guide (pdf)

Using a collection of concerns raised by their peers, the VoYS writing team set off to interview scientists, journal editors, grant bodies’ representatives, patient group workers and journalists in the UK and around the world to find out how peer review works, the challenges for peer review and how to get involved.

We have not avoided criticisms of the peer review process in this guide but rather entered into the debate, asking journal editors and reviewers some challenging questions about scientific fraud and plagiarism going undetected; issues of trust and bias; ground-breaking research taking years to publish and the system benefiting a closed group of scientists.

This guide will help early career researchers understand:

1. How the peer review process works

2. Some of the limitations of peer review

3. The role of peer review in society

Peer review: the nuts and bolts was launched in July 2012 at the EuroScience Open Forum in Dublin alongside a call from VoYS members to the Higher Education Funding Council of England to recognise reviewing as part of the Research Excellence Framework.


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  • Top tip 2: Immune boosting. You can’t and you don’t need to.

  • Top tip 3: Detox. It’s a marketing myth – our body does it without pricey potions and detox diets.

  • Top tip 4: Superfood. There is no such thing, just foods that are high in some nutrients.

  • Top tip 5: Cleansing. You shouldn’t be trying to cleanse anything other than your skin or hair.

  • Top tip 6: If it sounds too good to be true… it probably is.

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