Workflow - Goals of Peer Review

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Should peer reviewers evaluate a submitted paper for the pursuitworthiness or acceptability of the content of the paper?

Ideally, a workflow needs to clearly articulate the goals of its peer review process. In the traditional workflow, the answer to this question is far from obvious. While some reviewers review submissions for pursuitworthiness, others review for acceptability, yet others do both.1 As a result, it is often unclear whether the content of published articles is to be taken as accepted by the respective community or as or merely as considered pursuitworthy by the editors and reviewers? As noted by Shaw and Barseghyan,

Many of our practices suggest that it might be the former. For example, in Naomi Oreskes’ widely cited study on the consensus on climate change, she uses the content found in publications as a measure of acceptance.2 Moreover, many reviews reject papers due to their purported flaws suggesting that they should not be published because they are not acceptable.3 Yet, at other times, the fact that something was published is only taken to mean that it was considered to be worthy of further attention. Philosophers, for example, will be acutely familiar with this view: no one reads the newest paper on realism in Philosophy of Science to see what the community believes about realism. They merely search for stimulating and interesting ideas.4p. 3

Thus, it is vital to clearly state the goals of the peer review process.

In the scientonomic context, this question was first formulated by Hakob Barseghyan and Jamie Shaw in 2019. The question is currently accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by Scientonomy community. At the moment, the question has no accepted answer in Scientonomy.

Scientonomic History

Acceptance Record

Here is the complete acceptance record of this question (it includes all the instances when the question was accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by a community):
CommunityAccepted FromAcceptance IndicatorsStill AcceptedAccepted UntilRejection Indicators
Scientonomy22 December 2019The publication of Shaw and Barseghyan (2019) is and indication of the acceptance of the question.Yes

All Theories

The following theories have attempted to answer this question:
TheoryFormulationFormulated In
Goals of Peer Review - Pursuitworthiness (Shaw-Barseghyan-2019)The goal of peer reviews in the scientonomic workflow is evaluation for pursuitworthiness rather than acceptability.2019

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Accepted Theories

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Suggested Modifications

Here is a list of modifications concerning this topic:
ModificationCommunityDate SuggestedSummaryVerdictVerdict RationaleDate Assessed
Sciento-2019-0001Scientonomy22 December 2019Accept that the goal of peer-reviews in the scientonomic workflow is evaluation for pursuitworthiness rather than acceptability.Open

Current View

Related Topics

This question is a subquestion of Scientonomic Workflow.


  1. ^  Lee, Carole J. (2015) Commensuration Bias in Peer Review. Philosophy of Science 82 (5), 1272-1283.
  2. ^  Oreskes, Naomi. (2004) The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change. Science 306 (5702), 1686.
  3. ^  Byrne, Daniel W. (2000) Common Reasons for Rejecting Manuscripts at Medical Journals: A Survey of Editors and Peer Reviewers. Science Editor 23 (2), 39-44.
  4. ^  Shaw, Jamie and Barseghyan, Hakob. (2019) Problems and Prospects with the Scientonomic Workflow. Scientonomy 3, 1-14. Retrieved from