Peer Evaluation and Selection Systems: Adaptation and Maladaptation of Individuals and Groups Through Peer Review

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BioBitField, 2011 - 106 pages

 Humans tend to judge each other, often spontaneously and effortlessly, but also formally and deliberately. The author argues that this process of peer evaluation, or peer review, developed as a result of natural selection and offers adaptive benefits to individuals and communities. However, the peer review process is also stochastic, is based on assumptions, and relies on surrogate measures of success. As a result, particular instances of peer review may be non-adaptive or maladaptive. Another limitation of peer review is that it is useless in the face of novelty. Although peer review, in a broad sense, is critical to the success of human societies, the meaning of peer review is often overly simplified and misunderstood, its results overvalued, and its outcomes misinterpreted - causing much turmoil and frustration. The individuals who participate in a peer review process, especially those rejected by peers, as well as organizations that utilize peer review for decision making, will benefit from the insights proposed in this book.


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Chapter 1 Notion of Peer Review and the Scope of Its Applicability
Chapter 2 The Reason for the Meaning of and the Imperfect Nature of Peer Review
Chapter 3 Integration of Peer Review with Adaptive Mechanisms in Populations
Chapter 4 Pains and Gains of Peer Review
Chapter 5 Scientific Peer Review
Closing Remarks

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About the author (2011)

Serge Lehky is a professional scientist, educator, and frequent peer reviewer. He has published more than 80 peer-reviewed articles in medicine and biology, taught at the graduate level since 1985, and served as a peer reviewer of numerous research manuscripts and applications for funding. He continues his research and teaching career, and remains actively engaged in peer review for prestigious journals and research funding agencies, including the National Institutes of Health.

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