Peer review and expert panels are generic, at times overlapping terms, used to describe processes that can take many different forms, be used in multiple settings, and to serve multiple and different purposes. The essence of each technique is recourse to and reliance by decision makers upon the advice and recommendations of individuals deemed by virtue of their acknowledged technical expertise to assess the predicted or measured quality of performance of those proposing or performing work. The terms are frequently used interchangeably to describe procedures used by government agencies to select for funding competing proposals from researchers and/or universities; accept or reject manuscripts submitted for publication in (refereed) journals; judge whether an individual faculty member’s performance warrants tenure and/or promotion to a higher academic rank; assess whether an agency’s policies or programs have achieved their intended objectives, thus warranting continuation or expansion, or not; and related situations.
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