The process of writing and editing an assessment is unique, and different from the process of writing and editing a scientific journal article. In the interest of achieving the highest level of scientific credibility, the California Nitrogen Assessment follows the basic peer review methodology of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is a transparent process of writing and review. A large number of reviewers are being asked to participate, and these reviewers come from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. Together, they evaluate the comprehensiveness of the research, balance in presentation of evidence, and validity of our interpretations.
The Assessment is undergoing two rounds of review. The first round of review focuses on scientific rigor, accuracy, and credibility by asking scientific experts to critically read and comment on the report. This is followed by a period of author response and revision to the draft. The revised document is then distributed to our Stakeholder Advisory Committee, and soon thereafter made available for public comment. This Stakeholder Review stage is followed by a second period of author response and revision. During each stage, authors are required to respond to all comments received and review editors act as referees to judge the adequacy of our responses.
information and materials on each stage of review:
There are many ways to participate in the assessment writing process:
- Lead authors and co-authors: The writing of the assessment document is led by the assessment team – including ASI’s project scientists (PIs, fellows, and affiliated faculty here at UC Davis). Other contributing authors may become involved depending on their level of interest and fields of expertise.
- Scientific reviewers: These reviewers represent a wide range of academic fields and areas of expertise. They review the assessment document to make sure it is scientifically sound.
- Stakeholder reviewers: These reviewers include scientists, representatives from NGOs and industry, and others – all with the idea that a wide range of perspectives are represented. This group of reviewers includes members of the Assessment’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee, but the assessment will also be made available to the public for review and comments.
- Review editors: These reviewers, who possess significant expertise in relevant topics, serve as independent “referees” to oversee the process that incorporates comments from academic and stakeholder reviewers. Review Editors ensure that every review comment is considered by the lead authors and that it receives appropriate attention and a response from the assessment team.
- Schedule: Two of the total eight chapters of the Assessment are currently in Scientific Review. The remaining six chapters of the Assessment report have undergone Scientific Review and are being prepared for Stakeholder Review. The first Stakeholder Review, comprising a webinar presentation and an online public comment period, will commence on December 15, 2014 (see Stakeholder Review). Stakeholder Review sessions will proceed through early 2015.
- Responding to comments: Lead authors will consider and respond to all comments submitted during review. The review editors will oversee this iterative process, and review comments will be transparently displayed along with author responses.