Peer Review Process

Peer review is a process that will be used for many of the studies that will be developed for the Secretarial Determination on Klamath River dam removal. The value of peer review is clearly stated in OMB’s Bulletin: “Peer review is one of the important procedures used to ensure that the quality of published information meets the standards of the scientific and technical community. It is a form of deliberation involving an exchange of judgments about the appropriateness of methods and the strength of the author’s inferences. Peer review involves the review of a draft product for quality by specialists in the field who were not involved in producing the draft."

Following is a list of “Core Elements” of a peer review process that will be used for many of the Secretarial Determination studies. The review of some scientific products for the Secretarial Determination process may not include all of the following core elements for expert review based on agency discretion of how best to review certain types of information products.

At the discretion of the lead agency, certain non-scientific technical products that rely on standard procedures may or may not undergo peer review. Also at the discretion of the lead agency, details of the peer review process, including peer review comments, may or may not be made publically available.

Core Elements

1. Minimum of two peer reviewers.

2. The lead author’s agency or the agency contracting for scientific work that warrants peer review, will conduct or oversee the peer review. In some cases, an independent contractor specializing in conducting scientific reviews, may assist in conducting aspects of the peer review process.

3. Choice of peer reviewers can be suggested by the author(s), but the final selection of peer reviewers will be the responsibility of an agency official, such as a supervisor, or section/office/branch chief, or a contractor, as discussed above.

4. Peer reviewers will be subject-matter technical experts, they will be independent of the science product or study, and they will not have a conflict of interest.

5. Peer reviewers will be told their review comments may be made part of the public record.

6. Peer reviewer comments, or a summary of their comments, may be made part of the public record, at the discretion of the lead agency.

7. The names of peer reviewers may be identified in the public record, but their names will not be attributed to their specific review comments, or summary of their comments.

8. Author(s) will respond to written review comments and make appropriate changes to the science document to correct technical errors, improve clarity, etc. At the discretion of the lead agency, these author responses may be made part of the public record.

9.The agency conducting or overseeing the peer review will have an accountable official who ensures the author(s) adequately addressed peer reviewer comments.