peer reviewed journal
It takes a lot of research to have a study in a peer-reviewed journal.

What Does It Mean to Be Peer-Reviewed?

Written by MacuHealth
Reviewed by Jim Stringham, Ph.D.

Nutritional supplements are notoriously unregulated. This allows companies to make false claims about their products and put inactive ingredients in their formulations. As bad as this may sound, it has happened.

So, who can you trust?  The most effective way to evaluate any product claims is to examine the science (if any) conducted on it.  Some companies may conduct in-house scientific testing and often advertise their “findings” on their website or social media. Yet, the most trusted and respected form of science is called peer-reviewed.

But what does being peer-reviewed mean to patients? We’ll define what the term means and review what research must undergo to achieve this status.

What Does Peer-Reviewed Mean?

In a nutshell, a peer-reviewed journal is what the name suggests: a publication featuring scientific investigations analyzed by at least two other independent researchers (peers) in the same area of study. More specifically, the peer review process is a form of quality control intended to weed out poorly researched work. This helps to maintain a journal’s integrity.

But to fully understand what becoming “peer-reviewed” is, it’s essential to understand the distinction between a piece found in a widely published periodical or on social media and a peer-reviewed journal.

Before a newspaper or a magazine publishes an article, an editor checks it for readability by a large audience. Then, a fact-checker makes sure any facts the author used have not changed. Usually, the author, editor or fact-checker is not an expert in a particular field.

When a scholar sends their research for publication to a peer-reviewed journal, the editor ensures that it’s written for an audience of researchers. This means it’ll contain terms typically understood by experts. But instead of sending it to one person for a fact-check, the journal’s editor sends these findings to peers as an extra step in the publication process.

The Process of Becoming Peer-Reviewed

The method of being in a peer-reviewed journal can be complicated and lengthy. According to the American Psychological Association, here are the four steps of the journey:

  1. A scholar submits their research paper to a journal. The peer-reviewed journal’s editor determines if the manuscript is free from flaws or conflicts of interest. Afterward, it selects qualified individuals in the author’s field of study to offer a fair review.
  2. Review Research and Statistics.The editor and the selected peers review the entire paper, including any tables or figures attached. This ensures the information follows the publication’s guidelines and is well-organized, coherent, clearly defined and relevant. Often, the process is double-blind, meaning the author and reviewers are unknown to avoid bias.
  3. It can take several weeks for a peer-reviewed journal to decide to publish a paper. Most get sent back to the author with suggestions for revision. Feedback can include reorganizing the research structure or conducting additional experiments. The peers who reviewed the original document will usually view the revised manuscript.
  4. If the revisions are approved, the editor will schedule the paper for publication. If the author receives a rejection and believes a point was overlooked or misunderstood, they can appeal the decision. The time from submission to publication can be nearly a year.

The Benefits of Being in a Peer-Reviewed Jourmal

MacuHealth embraces science, and completing the peer-review process is a significant test of scientific integrity. There are over 40 peer-reviewed publications that support the effectiveness, bioavailability, and safety of MacuHealth’s formulations. Despite the length of time it takes to be peer-reviewed, it’s vital for the protection and trust of its customers.

When researchers evaluating MacuHealth publish their studies in a peer-reviewed journal, it gives eye care professionals and patients confidence to trust its claims and realize the supplement’s health benefits. Our willingness to undergo this process sets MacuHealth apart from the competition.