Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Community Peer Review: A Method to Bring Consent and Self-Determination into the Sciences

Version 1 : Received: 5 June 2018 / Approved: 7 June 2018 / Online: 7 June 2018 (07:35:48 CEST)

How to cite: Liboiron, M.; Zahara, A.; Schoot, I. Community Peer Review: A Method to Bring Consent and Self-Determination into the Sciences. Preprints 2018, 2018060104 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201806.0104.v1). Liboiron, M.; Zahara, A.; Schoot, I. Community Peer Review: A Method to Bring Consent and Self-Determination into the Sciences. Preprints 2018, 2018060104 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201806.0104.v1).

Abstract

Community peer review is a method that extends the ethics of consent into scientific practices. It gives communities affected by scientific research the ability to determine whether research may cause them harm and be part of determining how knowledge should best circulate to reduce or eliminate that harm. This paper introduces the method of community peer review by first looking at the concepts of consent and refusal, then outlining the steps to community peer review, using a case study of community meetings on a study of plastic ingestion by fish to elucidate the details of each step. Steps include: hiring a community member to the team; researching the social, cultural, and economic contexts of the community; identify the community; ensure skills for community conversation are in place; call the community meeting; conduct the community meeting; and analyze feedback for consent and refusal. Community peer review is premised on the idea that research is not inherently good and can cause harm, and that the best people to know whether and what kinds of harms are likely to occur are community members rather than researchers. The second premise is that the researcher’s “right” to research never supersedes a community’s right to not be harmed.

Subject Areas

ethics; community; refusal; consent; peer review; community peer review

Readers' Comments and Ratings (1)

Comment 1
Received: 26 July 2018
Commenter: Edmond Sanganyado (Click to see Publons profile: )
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: In this study, the authors developed a novel framework for conducting community peer review in environmental science research. This study is of great significance because the framework developed is applicable to studies that does not involve human subjects.

An important aspect of the framework is that the authors designed community peer review in their experimental approach. They did not take community peer review as separate from the research. Although such an experimental design might increase the duration of the study and might increase cost due to additional meetings, the wealth of data obtained seems to be a good pay off.

Another interesting aspect of community peer review is it promotes citizen science. For example, in this study the authors found that local people could identify the source of plastic contaminants by examining the fish. Source apportionment is difficult using current laboratory techniques despite the recent advances. However, local people have expertise in their area.

This manuscript was well written and was easy to read.
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