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 were 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 has undergone two rounds of review. The first round of review focused on scientific rigor, accuracy, and credibility by asking scientific experts to critically read and comment on the report. This was followed by a period of author response and revision to the draft. The revised document was then distributed to our Stakeholder Advisory Committee, and soon thereafter made available for public comment. This Stakeholder Review stage was followed by a second period of author response and revision. During each stage, authors were required to respond to all comments received and review editors acted as referees to judge the adequacy of our responses.
Participants in the assessment writing process:
- Lead authors and co-authors: The writing of the assessment report was led by a team of ASI project scientists, PIs, fellows, and affiliated faculty at UC Davis. Contributing authors from within and outside UC Davis were invited to provide specific input from their fields of expertise.
- Scientific reviewers: These reviewers represent a wide range of academic fields and areas of expertise. They reviewed the assessment chapters and provided critique and suggestions.
- 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 included members of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee, but the draft report was also 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.