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Diverse Approaches to Peer Review

Portrait of Albert Einstein in a museum. Source: pixabay.com

Peer Review Week, Sep 10-15, 2018

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
  • To showcase the work of editors and reviewers
  • To share research and advance best practices
  • To highlight the latest innovation and applications.
    (Source: https://peerreviewweek.wordpress.com/)

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.

The “preprint” enables researchers to openly share their results with peers at an early stage and still publish the peer-reviewed final version of their findings in a journal of their choice. To help the researcher find preprints or concentrate only on peer-reviewed literature, searches on ScienceOpen can be filtered to view only preprints or may exclude preprints. We are currently tracking preprints from arXiv, bioRxiv, PeerJ, Preprints.org, ChemRxiv, and the Open Science Framework repositories.

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!

In:  Other  

Managing transparent peer review at ScienceOpen

Unique

Peer review at ScienceOpen is a little different to what you might be used to.

Does the fact that a paper has been published, and therefore peer reviewed, mean that it is flawless? Does it mean that the conversation around that research should stop? We do not think so. The only reason there would ever be no value in doing post-publication evaluation would be if all published work were completely infallible. Which is clearly not the case. This is, after all, why we continue to do research and build upon the work of those before us!

Therefore, we enable post-publication peer review across 34 million article records, as a form of final-version commenting. It can also be performed on preprints from the arXiv. These are essentially treated as open, pre-review manuscripts. Users can organise these into collections, and manage peer review entirely themselves as a community process.

Managed

We have now added a new feature that enables any of our users to invite another researcher to perform peer review on our platform. This is in the same way that an Editor does for a journal, as part of a fully transparent process – the theme for Peer Review Week this year! The difference to the traditional process of peer review is that this is more democratic as it is open to anyone.

Step 1 – Find a paper of interest.

All article pages now have an ‘Invite to Review’ button. Click it, and you have 2 options.

  1. Search within the ScienceOpen userbase to see if the person you want to review already has a profile with us.
  2. Add an email, or list of emails, of who you want to invite to review, if they don’t already have a ScienceOpen profile.
Step 2 – Invite your colleagues to review!

That’s it. It’s that easy. This combines the editorial management of peer review with open participation. We enable this to make sure that the process is fair, but efficient. This means that anyone within your research community can contribute to the research process, should they wish to.

Continue reading “Managing transparent peer review at ScienceOpen”  

In:  Peer Review  

Recognition for Review is focus for Peer Review Week 2016

To honor and celebrate peer review, a group of organizations is working collaboratively to plan a week of activities and events. The group is delighted to announce that the second annual Peer Review Week will run from September 19- 25, 2016.

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This year’s theme is Recognition for Review, exploring all aspects of how those participating in review activity – in publishing, grant review, conference submissions, promotion and tenure, and more – should be recognized for their contribution.

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In:  Peer Review  

The future of peer review is now!

It’s the most wondrous time of the year! Peer Review Week is the time when the scholarly communications community comes together to recognise the importance and value of peer review and peer reviewers.

This year, the theme is all about Recognising Review, and the valiant efforts of the research community in performing and managing peer review.

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To celebrate this, and discuss the topic further, we will be holding a webinar on September 19th at 11AM GMT all about new and future approaches for acknowledging the peer review process.

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In:  Peer Review  

Are you a champion of open peer review?

Peer review week is almost upon us, yippee! Taking place from the 19-26th of September, this is a global event for celebrating the critical role that peer review plays in the scholarly communication process.

The theme this week is recognising peer review, something that at ScienceOpen we’ve been passionate about since our inception. Other science startups like Publons have already launched amazing initiatives like their Sentinels of Science campaign, well worth checking out. For updates, follow the #RecognizeReview hashtag on Twitter!

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This theme couldn’t be better timed. At the moment in scholarly publishing and communications, there’s something of a renaissance happening where we’re exploring aspects of recognising all the different types of review activity, including in publishing, research grants, conference submissions, and promotion and tenure.

Continue reading “Are you a champion of open peer review?”