As presented in ‘Peer Review; the supporting guide to the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research’, Peer review is ‘the impartial and independent assessment of research by others working in the same or a related field’ (NHMRC 2018) and has a number of important roles in research including:
- the assessment of research proposals and grant applications;
- the assessment and selection of material for publication and dissemination;
- the assessment of the research of Higher Degree Research (HDR) candidates;
- the assessment of research quality, engagement and impact by government bodies; and
- other reviews or assessments of research conducted by individual researchers, teams,
- academic units and institutions.
Under the Code, researchers have the responsibility to: (R28) ‘Participate in peer review in a way that is fair, rigorous and timely and maintains the confidentiality of the content’ (NHMRC 2018). Researchers must participate in the peer review process, conduct peer review responsibly, avoid interference in the peer review process and engage with the professional conduct module within ECUs research integrity professional learning program to be aware of their obligations relating to peer review.
Researchers and supervisors should be familiar with the ECU Authorship, Publication or Research and Peer Review policy and guidelines which set out the position for the promotion of an environment of collegiality, honesty, integrity, accuracy and responsibility within the impartial and independent scholarly assessment of research activities.
The peer review process may also draw attention to departures from the principles in the Code, including by identifying plagiarism, duplicative publication, errors and misleading statements. Peer reviewers should familiarise themselves with the processes involved in reporting potential breaches of the Code identified during the peer review process.