Peer Review

With the world’s attention focused on Covid-19 and potential therapies and vaccines, it might be a good time to reflect on the quality of discourse relating to how the issues created by the pandemic might be resolved.  It is difficult for investors, the media, and others to evaluate “scientific” commentary for accuracy in the absence of specific knowledge in the area under discussion.

Peer review can be a helpful guidepost.  According to Wikipedia, “peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competences as the producers of the work (peers).  It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field.  Peer review methods are used to maintain quality standards, improve performance, and provide credibility.”

Before making portfolio or policy decisions, investors and persons in authority would be well advised to carefully assess announcements that may be premature, incomplete, or biased.  Even information coming from generally accepted sources can be subject to misinterpretation, political agendas, or a lack of full disclosure.

All comments and suggestions are welcome.

Walter J. Kirchberger, CFA