Oliver Kirchkamp

Quality control

A main purpose of the review process is to ensure quality of publications. Thus, reviewers must have the possibility to control the quality of submitted papers. Quality control includes issues like the following: It might be possible that reading the body of a paper is sufficient to answer the above question. Other questions are also relevant and might require more:

When, in a theoretical paper, authors claim that they have proven a new theorem, we obviously demand a proof. We can go through the details of the proof and either find a mistake or be convinced. Proofs are usually included in the paper or in an appendix to the paper. In short: As far as theoretical findings are concerned, we expect them to be reproducible.

When, in a literature review, authors puts their research into the context of research by other people, again we demand proof, now as a reference to the literature. These references help us when we go to the library and check whether the author's interpretation of the literature is appropriate. For reviews of the literature, we expect these reviews to be reproducible.

When, in the empirical part of a paper, authors claim that the data shows a certain pattern, readers must have the possibility to check whether the conclusions which are drawn by the authors are really warranted. I think that it is not sufficient to rely on the claim that the author has observed some data, prepared the data, applied a method and then gets some results when only these results are available to the reader. The standards for empirical research should be as high as for theory and for literature.

Related links: