In Peer Review, scientific articles are vetted by scientific colleagues.
See also our entry on the new trend of Open Peer Review
Difference between Communal Validation and peer review
Peer production is based on equipotential participation (see Equipotentiality, i.e. the a priori self-selection of participants, and the communal vetting of the quality of their work in the process of production itself. Peer review is based on credentialism, peer production vetting is based on Anti-Credentialism. Peer review is part of an elaborate process of institutional and prior validation of what constitutes valid knowledge; peer production vetting is a posteriory vetting by the community of participants.
A quote on the difference between peer to peer processes and academic peer review:
“One of the early precedents of open source intelligence is the process of academic peer review. As academia established a long time ago, in the absence of fixed and absolute authorities, knowledge has to be established through the tentative process of consensus building. At the core of this process is peer review, the practice of peers evaluating each other's work, rather than relying on external judges. The specifics of the reviewing process are variable, depending on the discipline, but the basic principle is universal. Consensus cannot be imposed, it has to be reached. Dissenting voices cannot be silenced, except through the arduous process of social stigmatization. Of course, not all peers are really equal, not all voices carry the same weight. The opinions of those people to whom high reputation has been assigned by their peers carry more weight. Since reputation must be accumulated over time, these authoritative voices tend to come from established members of the group. This gives the practice of peer review an inherently conservative tendency, particularly when access to the peer group is strictly policed, as it is the case in academia, where diplomas and appointments are necessary to enter the elite circle. The point is that the authority held by some members of the group- which can, at times, distort the consensus-building process - is attributed to them by the group, therefore it cannot be maintained against the will of the other group members." (Felix Stalder in: http://news.openflows.org/article.pl?sid=02/04/23/1518208 )
Peer Review is not Obsolete
Ward Cunningham at http://www.re-public.gr/en/?p=141
"Does the proliferation of wikis mark the eventual end of peer review? How is this development changing the nature of scientific communities?
W.C.: Wiki does not threaten peer review. Science needs peer review and it will get it. I do not see knowledge produced through wikis as being on the same ground with scientific knowledge. Wiki is best seen as a way of reporting, sharing, coordinating, problem framing and agenda setting. A wiki works best where you’re trying to answer a question that you can’t easily pose, where there’s not a natural structure that’s known in advance to what you need to know.
Science is based on repeatable experiment. The peer review is a means of assessing the quality of the experiments, not voting on the preference for a particular result. But we should not forget that what you get as a wiki reader is access to people who had no voice before. The people to whom we are giving voice are aware of what it’s like to write, and ship, a computer program.
If you want to contribute to a scientific journal you should be peer reviewed. Part of peer review is that you’re familiar with all the other literature. And the other literature somehow that has spiralled off into irrelevance. What was being written about programming didn’t match what practicing programmers felt. With wiki, practicing programmers who don’t have time to master the literature and get a column in a journal that’s going to be read have a place where they could say things that are important to them. The wiki provides a different view. In fact you can tell when someone is writing on wiki from their personal experience versus when they are quoting what they last read. " (http://www.re-public.gr/en/?p=141)
Research reveals weaknesses of peer review processes
Summary of the research from http://jp.senescence.info/thoughts/peer_review.html
"Although peer review is plagued by elitism, bias, and abuse, it is deemed by many as essential to the scientific process. Ironically, peer review has no valid scientific base. The few studies done on peer review suggest that reviewers -- also known as referees -- vary markedly in their opinions. Moreover, peer review does not prevent scientific fraud, hardly detects errors, and only modestly improves scientific quality (Smith, 1999; van Rooyen et al., 1999; Rothwell and Martyn, 2000). Importantly, peer review continues to be a conservative process that smothers innovative and unconventional ideas." (http://jp.senescence.info/thoughts/peer_review.html)
Lessons from the History and Philosophy of Science regarding the Research Assessment Exercise. URL = http://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/gillies/
This article by Prof. Donald Gillies shows examples of why an excessive reliance on peer review can impede scientific progress, as major advances were in their time rejected by their peers.