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Deep Dive: The benefits of expert peer review in research

What is peer review?

Peer review is the assessment of research papers by field experts, it is a collaborative process between research paper authors and field experts. The purpose of this process is to evaluate the quality of the research, suitability of publication, and acts as a rigorous quality control measure while also serving the author with valuable feedback. 

Understanding peer review

The peer review process is vital to upholding the standard and quality of scholarly research, it also serves as an important support for authors. Peer reviews can alert authors to overlooked gaps in research and general errors as well. A survey conducted by sense about science found that 91% of respondents say their papers were significantly improved through peer review. 

The different types of peer review

Single-anonymousDouble-anonymousOpen
In this approach, reviewers are aware of the author’s identity; however, the author does not know the identity of the reviewer. This method is usually applied in science and medical journalsThe double-anonymous process is when neither the author or reviewer is aware of each other’s identities, this is when utmost objectivity is achieved. This method is usually applied in fields of humanities and social sciences. The open method does not have a singular definition, however, it is when the author and reviewer are aware of each other’s identities. Furthermore, once the paper is published, the reviewers names and reports are also present alongside the article.

The benefits of peer review

  • Ensures quality and accuracy

Peer review encourages authors to adhere to high standards in academic research, it stands to ensure only the best quality of research is disseminated. The process is designed to assess the validity, quality, and originality of submitted articles, hence filtering out those that are invalid. Furthermore, the reviewers are selected by journal editors that adhere to high standards and a comprehensive criteria to find the correct reviewer. 

  • Promotes objectivity and fairness

The double-anonymous method is the most reliable method to reduce bias as both parties are not aware of each other’s identity, the process is designed to tackle inequality in scholarly publishing as it reduces bias with respect to gender, race, country, origin or affiliation. 

  • Encourages scholarly collaboration

Peer reviews provide authors the platform to exchange ideas, methodologies, and findings while receiving insight from field experts, which enriches the academic landscape. It serves as a good networking opportunity and knowledge exchange. A taylor and francis study found that most researchers across all subject areas rated the contribution of peer review towards improving their articles as 8 or above, out of 10. 

  • Identifies and mitigates ethical issues

Peer review catches ethical considerations like plagiarism, data fabrication, and conflicts of interest. To ensure an ethical process takes place, all conflicts of interest should be disclosed and confidentiality should be maintained. Ethics ensure the responsible conduct of research by providing clear guidelines, while also monitoring researchers and practices to ensure everything meets ethical standards. 

Find peer reviewed articles on Zendy

In this blog, we covered the various aspects of peer review by explaining the purpose of the process and the factors it is designed to consider; we also dove into the different types of peer review and closed off with the benefits. To continue your research, you can log in to zendy.io and access millions of credible peer reviewed papers across all disciplines. 

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Our mission, Our AI

As a mission driven digital research library, Zendy is committed
to helping reduce inequality in access to academic literature for
audiences worldwide.

By working closely in partnership with publishers and data providers to create an affordable and accessible route to quality, peer reviewed content, we aim to even the playing field of global research, enabling students and researchers from underserved markets to participate in the global academic and policy dialogue and to contribute to
identifying solutions to our planet’s major challenges.

We believe that AI has an important role to play in fostering a fairer research and publishing ecosystem. By leveraging AI, we can offer a range of innovative solutions to facilitate access to content and to make the search journey quicker and more efficient, thereby supporting researchers’ needs irrespective of funding or location.

Whilst AI has the potential to transform research and education, Zendy acknowledges that it also raises ethical concerns around issues such as bias, privacy, and accountability. In response to these concerns and to the growing discussion around AI, we have formulated a list of AI imperatives to guide Zendy’s strategy for the development and integration of AI technologies into our products.


Zendy’s AI Imperatives:

  1. AI in service of a better world

In line with our mission to reduce inequality in research and publishing, we believe AI can help to positively impact society by facilitating access to and use of academic content. Our portfolio of AI solutions and our ongoing development work reflects this ethos, with a focus on solutions designed to support our users in their search for quality, reliable data. As a signatory to the UN’s Global Publishing Compact, and working hand in hand with our partners, we aim to offer a more enriched, personalised learning and discovery environment for all users globally, with AI very much in service of a better world.

  1. Openness, trust and transparency

We explain our use of AI tools, defining them in terms of their abilities and limitations. We clarify how they fit in to our platform’s ecosystem and how users can make the most of them. If the tool makes use of partner copyrighted data, as per licensed agreements, we put in place limitations and clear safeguards on that use. We recognise the need for openness, trust and transparency across all our activities, and we are open to feedback from all of our stakeholders.

  1. Personal privacy and data governance

Zendy is a committed advocate of personal privacy. As we continue to develop new solutions and acquire larger data sets, we safeguard the personal information which is shared with us through security policies and procedures to secure our systems. We also ensure that data is collected, reproduced, and protected in a compliant and appropriate manner in accordance with applicable privacy laws and regulations.

  1. Equity and unfair bias

Fairness and equity are at the heart of our mission to help create a better world. As we develop and implement new AI tools and solutions, we put in place procedures to ensure reliability, and carry out extensive review. We recognise that biases and hallucinations present challenges in machine learning models, similar to their presence in human cognition. Completely eliminating these issues may compromise the reasoning abilities of our models. Therefore, to minimise these challenges, we have implemented state-of-the-art techniques derived from recent research. These include prevention
and mitigation mechanisms like “chain-of-verification” and “counterfactual reasoning”, which are integrated into our models.

  1. Human oversight and accountability

We believe human oversight is key to the successful development and deployment of a useful and reliable AI-powered solution. We maintain human oversight of the development of our AI tools and their output from design to deployment to ensure reliability and quality. We routinely conduct evaluation benchmarks on our models to
assess their tendency to reproduce falsehoods and biases, as well as to measure their accuracy. This ongoing evaluation process enables us to continually enhance and refine our models.