Quality assurance in science through journal peer Review

Start of the project: 01-Oct-2016 - End of the project: 30-Sept-2019

Publications in peer-reviewed journals are not simply the relevant currency in science. They furthermore denote scientific quality and are the yardstick for scientific discovery. Although peer review is under constant critique, until today, this has not changed neither the presumptions about quality assurance through peer review nor the diffusion of this procedure. This holds, in particular, for scientific journals as such that have continuously developed – partly by employing technological infrastructure – and constantly follow respective procedures to assess and to guarantee scientific quality. Yet, what are their perceptions of scientific quality? How are these perceptions inscribed into peer review procedures and how are they stabilized thereby becoming taken-for-granted?

The project deals with these questions by operationalizing peer review procedures as several intertwined evaluation processes, which can be defined in terms of the selection of referees by the editor, the actual review of the manuscript by referees, and the final decision of the editor that includes the evaluation of the reviews as well as of the manuscript. How are these single evaluation processes interrelated? How can different perceptions of scientific quality within a particular evaluation process be aligned for finally coming to an unambiguous decision?

The project analyzes the peer review procedures of selected journals from distinct disciplines (1) through a website analysis of the self-presentation of the respective peer review procedure and (2) through interviews with the editors about their perceptions of scientific quality and quality assurance.

The project aims to analyze how perceptions of scientific quality are translated into evaluation procedures to get insights into the role of scientific journals in scientific knowledge production.

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Whole project


Sichtbarkeit in Bewertungsverfahren am Beispiel des Journal Peer Review.

Heßelmann, F., & Krüger, A. (2017, November).
Sichtbarkeit in Bewertungsverfahren am Beispiel des Journal Peer Review. Vortrag auf der Tagung der DGS-Sektionen Kultursoziologie und Wissenssoziologie "Kulturen der Bewertung", Köln.

Lead Researcher

Martin Reinhart
Prof. Dr. Martin Reinhart Lead Researcher +49 30 2093666-15


Felicitas Heßelmann

Funded by

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung