The field-specific nature of Peer Review

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The aim of the project is to explain field-specific practices of peer review by linking them to the numerous acts of quality assessment that are embedded in researchers’ every-day practices of knowledge production and communication. We explore the relationship between field-specific assessment practices and the corresponding everyday research practices.

Understanding these field-specific mechanisms will help to adapt formalised processes of peer review to the requirements of particular fields.

We investigate everyday quality assessments by researchers in their empirical and theoretical work, when reading publications, at conferences etc. as well as their participation in formal peer review processes. We explore everyday assessment practices by

  • interviewing scientists about their experiences in assessing others’ contributions for, and
  • observing discussions between researchers at conferences and seminars.

Peer review processes will be investigated by

  • interviewing researchers about their participation in formalised reviews of grant proposals, publications, and job applications, and
  • observing decision-making in grant panels.

The four research fields we study are:



Grit Laudel (Project Leader)            PRIF_portret Grit_detail


Alessio Borrelli (Student Assistant)

Karl Homuth (Student Assistant)

Eva Hempel (Student Assistant)


This research project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).