TY - JOUR

T1 - On the nature and role of peer review in mathematics

AU - Andersen, Line Edslev

PY - 2017/4/3

Y1 - 2017/4/3

N2 - For the past three decades, peer review practices have received much attention in the literature. But although this literature covers many research fields, only one previous systematic study has been devoted to the practice of peer review in mathematics, namely a study by Geist, Löwe, and Van Kerkhove from 2010. This lack of attention may be due to a view that peer review in mathematics is more reliable, and therefore less interesting as an object of study, than peer review in other fields. In fact, Geist, Löwe, and Van Kerkhove argue that peer review in mathematics is relatively reliable. At the same time, peer review in mathematics differs from peer review in most, if not all, other fields in that papers submitted to mathematical journals are usually only reviewed by a single referee. Furthermore, recent empirical studies indicate that the referees do not check the papers line by line. I argue that, in spite of this, mathematical practice in general and refereeing practices in particular are such that the common practice of mathematical journals of using just one referee is justified from the point of view of proof validity assessment. The argument is based on interviews I conducted with seven mathematicians.

AB - For the past three decades, peer review practices have received much attention in the literature. But although this literature covers many research fields, only one previous systematic study has been devoted to the practice of peer review in mathematics, namely a study by Geist, Löwe, and Van Kerkhove from 2010. This lack of attention may be due to a view that peer review in mathematics is more reliable, and therefore less interesting as an object of study, than peer review in other fields. In fact, Geist, Löwe, and Van Kerkhove argue that peer review in mathematics is relatively reliable. At the same time, peer review in mathematics differs from peer review in most, if not all, other fields in that papers submitted to mathematical journals are usually only reviewed by a single referee. Furthermore, recent empirical studies indicate that the referees do not check the papers line by line. I argue that, in spite of this, mathematical practice in general and refereeing practices in particular are such that the common practice of mathematical journals of using just one referee is justified from the point of view of proof validity assessment. The argument is based on interviews I conducted with seven mathematicians.

KW - Mathematical journals

KW - mathematics

KW - peer review

KW - proof validation

KW - refereeing practices

KW - validation practices

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85010637453&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/08989621.2016.1274885

DO - 10.1080/08989621.2016.1274885

M3 - Article

VL - 24

SP - 177

EP - 192

JO - Accountability in Research

JF - Accountability in Research

SN - 0898-9621

IS - 3

ER -