The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report on Peer Review in Scientific Publications is now available online.
Amongst its conclusions the report states “[p]eer review in scholarly publishing, in one form or another, is crucial to the reputation and reliability of scientific research. Pre-publication peer review has evolved in a piecemeal and haphazard way to meet the needs of individual scientific communities. The process, as used by most traditional journals prior to publication, is not perfect, and it is clear that considerable differences in quality exist. However, despite the many criticisms and the little solid evidence on its efficacy, editorial peer review is considered by many as important and not something that can be dispensed with.” The rest of the conclusions and recommendations can be read here.
Not sure what peer review is? Sense about Science have a useful guide [PDF file]