What is peer review?
Peer review is an editorial vetting process used by scholarly journals to determine which article manuscripts will be accepted for publication and which rejected.
The purpose of peer review is to ensure the credibility of the content published in a scholarly journal.
It does this by making the submitting author's work accountable to the scrutiny of expert peers who independently assess its scholarly value.
When a scholarly journal receives an article manuscript from an aspiring author, the journal's editor (normally also an institutionally affiliated scholar) sends copies of the manuscript to a panel of peer researchers.
These persons may share the submitting author's expertise in the research topic, or they may be experts in the research methods used to collect the data for the study.
Either way, their research expertise enables them to make informed and independent judgments regarding the quality, reliability and soundness of the research.
The peer scholars form judgments about the value of the research and then return to the journal editor one of three possible recommendations:
1) Accept the manuscript for publication without corrections (rare)
2) Accept the manuscript for publication pending corrections
3) Reject the manuscript (do not publish)
Peer review is the minimum standard for credibility in academic publishing.