Scientific Peer Review to Inform Regulatory Decision Making: Leadership Responsibilities and Cautions


* Address correspondence to Stephen S. Olin, ILSI Research Foundation, Risk Science Institute, One Thomas Circle NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA; tel: 202-659-3306; fax: 202-659-3617;


The article offers insights on the peer-review process as it relates to scientific and technical reports used to inform regulatory decisions. Used effectively, peer review is a powerful tool for advising organizational leaders whether the scientific foundations of their decisions can be expected to withstand scrutiny as rule-making products move through interagency reviews, public comment and stakeholder processes, congressional oversight, and judicial review. The emphasis is “heads up” rather than “how to.” That is, without delving into myriad technical and administrative details, the discussion highlights nine fundamental “leadership responsibilities” that determine the nature and course of peer review.