Peer Review and the Social Construction of Knowledge

Peer Review and the Social Construction of Knowledge

Next week we will discuss a paper published in 2004 by Arthur Bedeian. It focuses on the peer-review process, and its pros and cons. A truly interesting essay that opens up for many interesting discussions.

Abstract: Prior research on the peer-review process has almost exclusively focused on its surface features—its impartiality, validity, and reliability. What has received relatively less attention is the influence of the social component that shapes the content of the discipline’s published record and, in turn, determines its scientific progress. As the product of social processes, all knowledge-claims are socially constituted rather than the products of an absolute truth. Taking a sociology-of-knowledge perspective, I argue that the social processes underlying the peer-review process warrant closer scrutiny. In doing so, I contend that there must be a balancing of the inevitable author–editor–referee tensions operating throughout the editorial process so as to ensure that a clear authorial voice is preserved. I offer suggestions for assuring the integrity of the scientific enterprise, while respecting the prerogatives and ethics of authorship.