Peer Review - a process by which something proposed (as for research or publication) is evaluated by a group of experts in the appropriate field. – Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Over the weekend, Brian Angliss posted a piece over at Scholars and Rogues on why scientific peer review matters. He wrote it in response to climate change deniers who like to argue that peer review is useless and therefore, just because climate science is peer reviewed, it isn’t necessarily true.
Unfortunately for the denier community, it’s a little more complicated than that. As Angliss writes:
One major misconception about all varieties of peer review is that the reviews guarantee no errors in the final product.
What peer review does is start a process of finding and correcting errors, which generally continues upon and after publication, Angliss explains. It is another step in the scientific method of gathering data and testing hypotheses to solve a problem or understand an issue. Because of this method, scientific understanding often builds and deepens over time. That does not make the original assumptions or theories incorrect.