Feedback from colleagues with similar backgrounds, expertise, and knowledge can be a valuable asset. Positive peer reviews contribute to increased funding opportunities, academic advancement, and a good reputation. On the other hand, peer reviewers can fall prey to bias, both positive and negative, which can affect the prospects of the research being reviewed, independent of its quality.
Peer reviewers are expected to meet strict deadlines, which is a challenge when one has numerous responsibilities. Reviewers are also expected to remain impartial during the review, which can be difficult if the research being reviewed is, for example, submitted by a rival researcher. During the review process, the reviewer must knowledgeably assess the quality of the research, honestly judge the importance of the research, and must preserve confidentiality. It is essential that researchers are aware of the expectations and commitments required of a peer reviewer prior to becoming one. Although participating in peer review is a way to provide professional service, those who cannot meet the requirements should seriously consider whether being a peer reviewer is right for them.
Guide for Reviewers of Manuscripts (Society for Neuroscience)
RCR module on Responsible Authorship and Peer Review (Columbia U)
Peer review: The holy office of modern science (naturalSCIENCE)
Peer review on trial (Columbia University)
Rethinking Peer Review: How the Internet is Changing Science Journals (The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Science)