The critical review process is a key instrument to ensure studies, scientific publications and concepts follow principles of coherent systematics and inherent consistency in accordance with state-of-the-art scientific methodology. The results of a critical review help evaluate the quality and the validity of the main findings of any scientific output.
Critical reviews are particularly important for life cycle assessments (LCA). In accordance with ISO 14040, a critical review process is mandatory for a comparative LCA prepared for publication. However, non-comparative or confidential LCAs are also frequently subject to critical review. The review process boosts the credibility of the study and promotes deeper comprehension of the methodology.
The critical review panel is usually appointed at the outset of a project. Experts from a range of relevant disciplines are approached, who will then convene to select a chairperson for the coordination of the review process including periodic panel meetings. These review panel meetings critically assess the current state of the LCA, i.e. goal and framework definition, impact categories under investigation, interpretation, and sensitivity analyses, throughout the duration of the study. A final examination of both plausibility and reliability of the results takes place in a separate validation step, which is documented in a separate report compiled by the review panel.
The ifeu has prepared many LCAs in accordance with ISO 14040 that were subject to critical review, and often served on critical review panels evaluating outside studies. Moreover, decades of experience in LCA have placed the ifeu at the centre of a considerable network of experts. In consequence, the appointment of appropriate critical review panels is another service we offer our clients.