Peer Review Week is a global event celebrating the role of peer review in maintaining scientific quality. This year marks the event’s fourth anniversary of bringing together researchers, institutions, and organizations committed to the message that good peer review is crucial to scholarly communications. This year Peer Review Week on the topic of diversity aims:
To emphasize the central role peer review plays in scholarly communication
Although peer review itself is not as young as the week-long event organized in its celebration, it is still a relatively new invention. Albert Einstein published his original papers in non-peer-reviewed German journals through 1933, most famously in the Annalen der Physik. Max Planck, one of the journal’s editors of the time, described his editorial philosophy as:
To shun much more the reproach of having suppressed strange opinions than that of having been too gentle in evaluating them.
After moving to the US, Einstein was so shocked that his paper submitted to the Physical Review in 1936 was met with negative criticism that he decided not to publish with them at all. Ironically, the paper in question hypothesized that gravitational waves do not exist. In retrospect, peer review saved Einstein the controversy and the embarrassment that would have ensued if he had published his original article.
Einstein’s anecdotal experience with non-/peer review journals both points to the necessity of peer review in quality scholarly publishing and to the danger of excluding scientific arguments from the academic narrative. ScienceOpen bridges the gap between these two opposite approaches by making both preprints and peer-reviewed scholarly articles accessible through its discovery environment with a unified review framework for researchers to evaluate results.
Once a preprint has been published, ScienceOpen offers a full set of tools to peer-review and curate the content. Users can organize and manage the review entirely on their own. Found an interesting preprint, but want an expert opinion before using it in your research? Invite a reviewer! Researchers can either review an article themselves or invite an expert colleague to do so with one click of a button on every article page. Reviewers currently need a minimum of 5 records attached to their ORCID. ScienceOpen encourages everyone to openly participate in this process, thereby contributing to the diversification of expert opinions on a specific topic.
The fact that a paper has been published, and therefore peer-reviewed, does not mean that the research should stop. ScienceOpen enables post-publication peer review across 45 million article records, in the form of final-version comments. Article reviews, modeled after book reviews, are published with the author’s name and should provide orientation and an evaluation of the research for readers. Peer review as an open dialogue between experts actively contextualizes the research into ongoing scientific debates and helps researchers gain a deeper insight into a specific topic.
In order to fully recognize the contribution of reviewers and ensure maximal discoverability for authors, ScienceOpen integrates seamlessly with Crossref and ORCID. ScienceOpen has linked users with ORCID from the beginning. Recently, ScienceOpen has been actively participating in Crossref’s development of peer review content registration. In their recent press release, ‘Crossref facilitates the use of essential peer review information for scholarly communications‘, Crossref emphasized the importance of persistent records for peer review and commended ScienceOpen on successfully implementing metadata that enriches “scholarly discussion, reviewer accountability, transparency, and peer review analysis”. Stephanie Dawson, CEO of ScienceOpen, added that rich metadata is key to discoverability – for research articles, preprints, books, conference proceedings, and now for peer review reports. Crossref is making these reviews easier to identify and find, which translates into “more impact for researchers and publishers”. Anyone can retrieve the data necessary for their integration and analysis. As the Crossref press release concludes, rich metadata helps institutions and researchers build a better picture around the role of peer review in scholarly communications as a whole, not only in terms of identifying and assessing their own contributions.
Peer review is necessary to ensure quality scientific publishing, but it still needs to be honed to the greater benefit of the researcher, the scientific community, and ultimately the whole society. ScienceOpen contributes to this goal by integrating rich metadata, featuring preprints, and enabling post publication peer review. We look forward to hearing additional potential solutions to the diversification of the peer review process for a greater impact during #PeerReviewWeek18!
One of our favourite upgrades is how each of more than 24,000 journals are featured and displayed. Now it is possible for anyone to see what journals exist on our platform and how many articles are tracked for each one of them. That’s the first step. Try searching for your favourite journal, or even a journal you work for, and seeing what we have for it.
Free to publish OA journals offer an incredible service to the research community and broader public, with editors often working long hours with little-no compensation. We want to recognise this effort and reward it with free indexing on our platform! But why should journal editors care?
More visibility for your journal
Journals indexed on ScienceOpen:
Reach new audiences and maximize your readership
Drive more usage to your journals
Upload your content to a unique search/discovery and communication platform
Open up the context of your content
To apply for the next round, an application form can be found here. Fill it out, and submit to our team. Simple, and hassle free!
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?
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).
Last week, we kicked off a series interviewing some of the top ‘open scientists’ by interviewing Dr. Joanne Kamens of Addgene, and had a look at some of the great work she’d been doing in promoting a culture of data sharing, and equal opportunity for researchers. Today, we’re bringing you another open science star, Dr. Gal Schkolnik, who recently published a really cool Collection with us on the bacterium Shewanella. Here’s her story!
Hi Gal! So can you tell us a bit about your research background, and how you originally got interested in science?
I did my BSc in Chemistry at the Tel Aviv University and my MSc at the Weizmann Institute, analyzing the chemical composition of deforestation-fire smoke from the Amazon, where farmers and corporations yearly set hectares of rainforest on fire for agriculture and pasture. For my PhD at the Technische Universitaet Berlin I measured the electric fields at protein surfaces and self-assembled monolayers. Now I’m researching Shewanella, an electroactive bacterium that can transfer electrons across its outer membrane. As you can see, I always start on a completely new field, because my greatest passion in life is acquiring knowledge – so learning something new is my favorite kind of challenge. I’m basically just a kid who never got over the “why” stage, haha. Plus I had some very inspiring teachers at school – two wonderful women who nurtured my natural tendency to go deep in pursuit of answers to the hardest questions.
People who have no access to journal subscriptions can use ScienceOpen to gain more knowledge about electroactive bacteria and their possible applications.
ScienceOpen Collections are thematic groups of research articles that transcend journals and publishers to transform how we collate and build upon scientific knowledge.
What are Collections
The modern research environment is a hyper-dimensional space with a vast quantity of outputs that are impossible to manually manage. You can think of research like a giant Rubik’s cube: you have different ‘colours’ of research that you have to mix and match and play around with to discover how the different sections fit together to become something useful.
We view Collections as the individual faces of a Rubik’s cube. They draw from the vast, and often messy, pool of published research to provide an additional layer of context and clarity. They represent a new way for researchers to filter the published record to discover and curate content that is directly relevant to them, irrespective of who published it or what journal it appears in.
Advantages of Collections
Perhaps the main advantage of Collections to researchers is that they are independent of journals or publishers and their branding criteria. Researchers are undoubtedly the best-placed to assess what research is relevant to themselves and their communities. As such, we see Collections as the natural continuing transformation of the concept of the modern journal, acting in almost full cycle to return them to their basic principles.
The advantage of using Collections is that they provide researchers with the power to filter and select from the published record and create what is in essence a highly-specialised virtual journal. This means that Collections are not pre-selective, but instead comprise papers discriminated only by a single criterion: research that is relevant to your peers, and also deemed relevant by them.
Filtering for Collections occurs at different levels depending on scope or complexity of research. For example, Collections can be designed to focus on different research topics, lab groups or research groups, communities, or even departments or institutions. Collections can also be created for specific conferences and include posters from these, published on ScienceOpen. Youdefine the scope and the selection criteria.