Journal Article — Scientific Peer Review: An Analysis of the Peer Review Process from the Perspective of Sociology of Science Theories — by Lutz Bornmann

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Abstract

Although a large number of studies have been published up to now on peer review in science, only few of them employ a theory-guided approach. Most of the studies fail to connect the empirical findings to theory. The few available theory-guided empirical studies are found predominantly in the older peer review research, which was strongly influenced by the more traditional sociologists of science, referred to as the Mertonians, or the “North American school” of Robert K. Merton. The aim of the present contribution is to present a theoretical framework that includes also recent theory developments and that can serve as a basis for future empirical research on peer review. To do this, peer review is examined from the points of view of the three most important theoretical directions in the sociology of science: (1) the North American school, (2) social constructivism, and (3) social systems theory.

Recommended Citation

Bornmann, Lutz. 2008. “Scientific Peer Review: An Analysis of the Peer Review Process from the Perspective of Sociology of Science Theories.” Pp. 23-38 in Sociological Imaginations from the Classroom: Plus A Symposium on the Sociology of Science Perspectives on the Malfunctions of Science and Peer Reviewing (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume VI, Issue 2, 2008.) Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).

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