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Programs of the Office of the Science Advisor (OSA)

Frequent Questions about Peer Review

Understanding the Peer Review Handbook and Policy: Why Use Peer Review?
  • Peer review is intended to uncover any technical problems or unresolved issues in a preliminary (or draft) work product through the use of independent experts. This information is then used to revise that draft product so that the final work product will reflect sound technical information and analyses. Peer review is a process for enhancing a scientific or technical work product so that the product is improved, and any decision or position taken by the Agency, based in part on that product, has a sound, credible basis. 
How is Peer Review Different from Public Comment?
  • Public comment does not necessarily draw the kind of independent, expert information and in-depth analyses expected from the peer review process. Public comment is open to all issues, whereas the peer review process is limited to consideration of specified technical issues. While it may be an important component of EPA's decision making process, public comment does not substitute for peer review.