How can something exclusive, secretive, and irreproducible be considered to be objective? How can something exclusive, secretive, and irreproducible be considered as a ‘gold standard’ of any sort?
Traditional, closed peer review has these traits, but yet for some reason held in esteem as the most rigorous and objective standard of research and knowledge generation that we have. Peer review fails peer review, and its own test of integrity and validation, and is one of the greatest ironies of the academic world.
What we need is a new standard of peer review that is suitable for a Web-based world of scholarly communication. This is to help accommodate the increasingly rapid communication of research and new sources of information, and bring peer review out of the dark (literally) ages and into one which makes sense in a world of fast, open, digital knowledge dissemination.
What should a standard for peer review look like in 2017?
The big test for peer review, and any future version of it, is how does the scientific community apply its stamp of approval?
A whole new year means a chance to start or continue building your profile as an Open Scientist! There are so many ways you can do this, from publishing Open Access and sharing your research data, to helping to teach students how to code or use GitHub. Every little bit helps.
Here are ten recommendations from us to kick-start the New Year with an Open Science bang!
Kick off the new year with the new unified search on ScienceOpen! We have accomplished a lot over the last year and are looking forward to supporting the academic community in 2017.
In 2016 ScienceOpen brought you more context: Now your search comes with a new analytics bar that breaks down your search results by collections, journals, publishers, disciplines, and keywords for quicker filtering. Try a search for the pressing topics of 2016 like Zika or CRISPR and take the new features for a spin.
Researcher output, journal content, reference lists, citing articles can all be dynamically sorted and explored via Altmetric score, citations, date, activity. Statistics for journals, publishers and authors give overview of the content that we are indexing on ScienceOpen. Check out the most relevant journals on ScienceOpen, for example BMC Infectious Diseases or PloS Genetics for a new perspective. Or add your publications to your ORCID and get a dynamic view of your own output.
In 2016 ScienceOpen brought you more open: The ScienceOpen team participated in and helped organize numerous community events promoting Open Science. From Peer Review Week to OpenCon, talks at SSP in Vancouver and SpotOn in London, our team was on the road, debating hot issues in scholarly communication.
In order to bring more visibility to smaller community open access journals, very often with close to non-existent funding and run on a voluntary basis, we launched our platinum indexing competition. It was geared towards open access journals charging no APCs to their authors. Four successful rounds in, we have selected 18 journals to be indexed and awarded some of them with special featured collections on the ScienceOpen platform. This activity was particularly rewarding as we heard back from journals’ editors expressing their enthusiasm about the ScienceOpen project and enjoying bigger usage numbers on their content.
The ScienceOpen 2.017 version will continue to focus on context, content and open science. We are your starting point for academic discovery and networking. Together let’s explore new ways to support visibility for your publications, promote peer review, improve search and discovery and facilitate collection building. Here is to putting research in context! The year 2016 had some great moments – may 2017 bring many, many more!
With the launch of our new unified search interface, we restructured the Author Profile page on ScienceOpen, providing dynamic ways to explore an author’s output.
For a very prolific author like Ray Dolan, Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL and author of 674 articles, it can be hard work for a reader to even just scroll through the titles of his total output. The new ScienceOpen author profile, however, provides the researcher a variety of avenues to delve into this content on their own terms. They can sort publications by Altmetric score, citations, usage, date or reviews – to find the view that fits their needs.
The left side-bar overview shows top collections, journals, publishers, keywords and disciplines. Users can also search within the publication list with a free-text search or add up to 14 filters to find exactly the content that is relevant to them
The top metrics bar provides a view on total usage of the articles on the site and activity by the author. And if you want to know more about the background of the author just click on the profile button for biography and more.
How does it work? From the beginning ScienceOpen has worked closely with ORCID and required an ORCID ID for active participation in the network. We draw our information therefore from a user’s public profile. If we detect an author who is not identified in our network with an ORCID (we are tracking nearly 15 million authors), we mark the profile as “record” to indicate a lower level of reliability; for example, this profile from Jonathan A. Eisen:
Below are several examples of interesting profiles on ScienceOpen to inspire you. We welcome you to search, explore, link your ORCID to your own profile and share your experience with us. At ScienceOpen we are striving to serve the academic community and always welcome your input.
Full steam ahead with our incredible Open Science Stars! We hope you’ve been enjoying it so far, and today we’re bringing you Dasapta Erwin Irawan, a a researcher based in Indonesia at the interface between Engineering, Hydrogeology and Geoscience, and an avid open science supporter. Enjoy his story!
When did you first hear about ‘open science’? What was your first reaction, do you remember? It’s kind of funny, I heard it first from you :). (Ed: *sniff*) It was one of your blog post in 2012 Relocation, and a chance to try some open science-ing that gave me ideas of sharing my results as fast as I can and as wide as I can. I had finished my PhD when I first read it and your posts on EGU blog. There I noticed your hash tags ‘#OpenPhD` then followed it. I wasn’t serious in using my Twitter handle for academic purposes back then. My first reaction was, to make all my published papers available online, posted them all on my ResearchGate account and my blog.
You have a very strong commitment to open science. What is it that drives this for you?
My strong commitment has been built by seeing so many other doing the same thing. In Indonesia, where not many universities have subscription to major journals, open science could be the answer of what we’ve been looking for. Everybody here keeps saying to submit papers to major paywalled journals, as they have good reputation and indexed by WoS or Scopus, while it should not be that way. What we need in Indonesia is to keep writing, write more in English and find a way to make it easier to be found and accessible by others, as if it was indexed by WoS and Scopus. And I see by using the latest free and open source services, we can do that.
In Indonesia, where not many universities have subscription to major journals, open science could be the answer of what we’ve been looking for
There are many many amazing blogs and bloggers out there that provide critical comments, context, and feedback on the ‘formally published’ research literature. One problem with these though is that they are often divorced from the papers themselves, perhaps lost on obscure websites, or not hitting the right target audience. This seems like an awful waste, don’t you think?
While some great initiatives such as The Winnower will now publish blog posts openly, these still are not connected to the papers that they are based on, if they are indeed written about particular papers. But what do researchers think about blogging as a form of scholarly communication in the form of post-publication peer review?
So as with most of my ponderings, I took to Twitter to get some feedback with a little poll. I actually framed the question a little ambiguously, but this shouldn’t sufficiently skew the data in any direction (I hope).
Do you consider blogging to be a form of post-publication peer review?
What is interesting to me is that 41% of people who answered, who undoubtedly did not constitute just a researcher sample, do not consider blogging to ‘count’ as peer review. I would really love to know why this is the case for some people. Perhaps they haven’t seen good examples, or perhaps just because it’s not formalised in any way, and quite disassociated from the research literature.
ORCID integration has been at the heart of our publishing system since our inception. We like to think that this demonstrates that ScienceOpen was already thinking way ahead of the curve for the future of publishing, and recognising the importance of infrastructure and the value of unique identifiers. ORCID is now a major part of the scholarly communications infrastructure, and becoming more so with each passing day.
At ScienceOpen, registration with us requires registration with ORCID. In fact, if you register with us, we will automatically provide you the options for registering with ORCID.
To comment, review and rate articles, we require an ORCID along with membership at ScienceOpen. If you have more than 5 articles within your ORCID profile, you’ll gain Expert member status with us, and free reign of services! We feel this is important to maintain a high standard of quality for our peer review services. This isn’t to say that those without ORCID wouldn’t be great referees, it’s just that this is an explicit minimum standard.
Here’s a little table to help make this a little easier to understand. We’re evolving all the time to adapt to the needs of the research community, so please let us know if there’s anything we can do to enhance our services!
The aim of this partnership is to standardise and integrated information that is currently distributed throughout more than 230 systems and databases in Germany. By adopting ORCID, this will support German universities and research institutes in implementing ORCID in a co-ordinated and sustainable approach.
“Thanks to the financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft we have now the opportunity to promote the use of ORCID in Germany. This is a strong signal for ORCID in Germany,” says Roland Bertelmann, head of the Library and Information Services at the German Research Centre for Geoscience (GFZ).
ORCID is a critical part of research infrastructure, acting as a unique identifier for researchers, and a sort of LinkedIn style profile with your published research, and educational and professional histories embedded, and partnered with tools such as CrossRef/Scopus to make content integration easy and automated.
One main aspect of open peer review is that referee reports are made publicly available after the peer review process. The theory underlying this is that peer review becomes a supportive and collaborative process, viewed more as an ongoing dialogue between groups of scientists to progressively asses the quality of research. Furthermore, it opens up the reviews themselves to analysis and inspection, which adds an additional layer of quality control into the review process.
This co-operative and interactive mode of peer review, whereby it is treated as a conversation rather than a selection system, has been shown to be highly beneficial to researchers and authors. A study in 2011 found that when an open review system was implemented, it led to increasing co-operation between referees and authors as well as an increase in the accuracy of reviews and overall decrease of errors throughout the review process. Ultimately, it is this process which decides whether research is suitable or ready for publication. A recent study has even shown that the transparency of the peer review process can be used to predict the quality of published research. As far as we are aware, there are almost no drawbacks, documented or otherwise, to making referee reports openly available. What we gain by publishing reviews is the time, effort, knowledge exchange, and context of an enormous amount of currently secretive and largely wasted dialogue, which could also save around 15 million hours per year of otherwise lost work by researchers.