Although the beginnings of "peer review" are frequently associated with the Royal Society of London when it took over official responsibility for the Philosophical Transactions in 1752, antecedents of peer review practices go back to the 17th century. Despite the differences in the academic, social, intellectual, and economic environments of the 18th century and today, we can find interesting and instructive similarities in the way early editors defined and exercised their prerogatives and responsibilities. These concerns extend to ideas and practices that are closely related to what we call peer review or refereeing today.
Kronick DA. Peer Review in 18th-Century Scientific Journalism. JAMA. 1990;263(10):1321-1322. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440100021002