In:  Peer Review  

Peer review at ScienceOpen is surprisingly simple!


Peer review at ScienceOpen is all about post-publication*. Along with nearly 12 million full text Open Access (OA) articles and article records, we also have the original publications from our journal ScienceOpen Research. Of these, the vast majority have 2-3 peer reviews each, thanks to a mighty effort from our Editorial office in Berlin.

But did you know that anyone can review any article they want on ScienceOpen, and not just those from ScienceOpen Research? And perhaps more importantly, anyone can invite anyone else to review any article? That sounds an awful lot like the daytime job for Editors at traditional journals.. But with the power firmly in the hand of researchers and their communities. How cool is that?

Step 1
Step 1

It’s super easy to implement too. All you have to do is go to an article of choice, click the ‘Reviews’ button (Step 1), and then select the ‘Invite to Review’ button (Step 2). If you were feeling inclined, you could review the paper yourself too!

You can then simply select their ScienceOpen username (what, you don’t have one yet?!), or invite them by email (Step 3).

Peer reviewing at ScienceOpen is for researchers that have published at least 5 articles based on their ORCID profile, which we use to maintain a high quality standard. To publicly comment, you must have published at least 1 article. Comments and peer reviews are not moderated – we expect the research community to do that themselves, and based on our experience of platform engagement have no reason to expect that moderation is required.

Peer review takes a standard two-step process. The first is a five-star rating on the four factors of “importance”, “validity”, “comprehensibility”, and “completeness”. This is followed by a formally written review in which you can express your critical feedback to the author(s), as with a standard review process.

Step 2
Step 2

Public reviews will be included on the article homepage (and even the ScienceOpen landing page to begin with!), and will receive a CrossRef DOI separate from the article publication. This means that your review itself will be citable and automatically integrated into your ORCID profile, should you wish. We strongly believe that referees deserve full credit and recognition for their work as a public, transparent process, which is what we facilitate at ScienceOpen. For an example of a great peer review on ScienceOpen Research, please see here.

Invited review and Collections

Hopefully, regular readers (*tumbleweed*) here will already be beginning to see the value of this. Peer review is essentially the same as at traditional journals in that it is editorially controlled. The key differences are that anyone can exert that control, and people can review what articles they feel comfortable doing so, with the knowledge that these reviews will become public as part of a civil and continuous discourse.

Step 3
Step 3

But woah one minute! Didn’t we write a post previously about how we host pretty much the entire arXiv on our site? And isn’t one of the major gripes with the arXiv that there are no concerted efforts to peer review it? Or at least independently of the traditional costly publishing structure? And didn’t we mention that you can build Collections based on not just arXiv articles, but any article within our database? And with this, don’t you now have full editorial control over peer review?

I should probably note that at this time, not a single penny has been spent by anyone (well, except for us so that you can all do this!).

Peer review is therefore an easy to manage, community-driven, open process. It’s free, it’s scalable, and it’s transparent. And the best thing about it, is that anyone can do it! The recent development and launch of Discrete Analysis is essentially the same process. Except we don’t have any Field Medallists leading the charge (yet – anyone want to join us?) to give our Collections the ‘prestige’ which will undoubtedly define the success of the journal.

What we do have instead are the tools for anyone to replicate their peer reviewed ‘overlay journal’ in the same way though. There is no cost, full editorial control, and potential for massive-scale community engagement. All we need is for you to get started and help us make science more open!

Email for more details and to become a Collection Editor.

*Although we’re still after people to try our Peer Review by Endorsement model by Jan Velterop!


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