Peer and present dangers (2 of 3)

September 20, 2012

"Peer pressure" struck a chord with me. While colleagues in the academy increasingly find themselves with diverse and complex workloads to manage, professionalism and respect for peers should constitute a self-fulfilling prophecy in terms of devoting the necessary time and effort when agreeing to undertake peer review.

A major issue with the process is the negativity of some referees towards research with null results or marginal improvements as outcomes, despite the employment of methodologically sound science. As any good tutor of research methods knows, negative results are just as valuable to the investigative process as positive ones. This was perhaps best summed up by a colleague who told me: "If we're doing experiments and getting it right every time, then we're either implausibly lucky or we're doing something wrong."

Such transparency is crucial in ensuring that research time is not wasted reinventing the wheel, but instead deepens and expands understanding of our subject. Without such articles being published in mainstream sources, how else will the research community accurately know what others are doing in the field and where the boundaries of knowledge lie?

To realise these enhancements, journal publishers and editors need to make their expectations of referees clear and must provide appropriate mechanisms and support for those who may need guidance.

Stuart Cunningham, Glyndwr University

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A group of flamingos and a Marabou stork

A right-wing philosopher in Texas tells John Gill how a minority of students can shut down debates and intimidate lecturers – and why he backs Trump

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands