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In:  Peer Review  

A new gold standard of peer review is needed

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?

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In:  Peer Review  

What are the barriers to post-publication peer review?

At ScienceOpen, we have over 28 million article records all available for public, post-publication peer review (PPPR), 3 million of which are full-text Open Access. This functionality is a response to increasing calls for continuous moderation of the published research literature, a consistent questioning of the functionality of the traditional peer review model (some examples in this post), and an increasing recognition that scientific discourse does not stop at the point of publication for any research article.

Post-publication peer review at ScienceOpen in action!

In spite of this increasing demand, the uptake of PPPR across different platforms seems to be relatively low overall. So what are some of the main reasons why researchers might feel less motivated to do PPPR, and is there anything we can do to increase its usage and adoption as part of a more open research culture?

What even is ‘post-publication’ peer review?

There is a general mentality among researchers that once research has been published, it has already ‘passed’ peer review, so why should it need to be peer reviewed again?

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In:  Peer Review  

A post-publication peer review success story

 

In 2016, Dr. Joel Pitt and Prof. Helene Hill published an important paper in ScienceOpen Research. In their paper, they propose new statistical methods to detect scientific fraudulent data. Pitt and Hill demonstrate the use of their method on a single case of suspected fraud. Crucially, in their excellent effort to combat fraud, Pitt and Hill make the raw data on which they tested their method publicly available on the Open Science Framework (OSF). Considering that a single case of scientific fraud can cost institutions and private citizens a huge amount of money, their result is provocative, and it emphasizes how important it is to make the raw data of research papers publicly available.

The Pitt and Hill (2016) article was read and downloaded almost 100 times a day since its publication on ScienceOpen. More importantly, it now has 7 independent post-publication peer reviews and 5 comments. Although this is a single paper in ScienceOpen’s vast index of 28 million research articles (all open to post-publication peer review!), the story of how this article got so much attention is worth re-telling.

Enhanced article-level statistics and context – just one of 28 million on our platform!

Peer review history

The manuscript was submitted and published in January 2016, and the final typeset version of the article was available for download on March 1st. Shortly after this in May 2016, PhD student Chris Hartgerink publicly peer reviewed the article, summarising it as “Interesting research, but in need of substantial rewriting.”

It was after this that the article came to the attention of Prof. Philip B. Stark, an Associate Dean at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of the most highly read article on our platform with over 39,000 views to date!

Prof. Stark runs a course on the theory and application of statistical models. In his course, groups of students replicate and critique the statistical analyses of published research articles using the article’s publicly available raw data. Obviously, for this course to work, Prof. Stark needs rigorous research articles and the raw data used in the article. In this sense, Pitt and Hill’s article on ScienceOpen was an ideal candidate..

The groups of students started their critical replication of the Hill and Pitt article in the Fall semester of 2016 and finished right before the new year.  By getting students to actively engage with research, they gain the confidence and expertise to critically analyse published research.

The Post-Publication Peer Review function on ScienceOpen is usually only open to researchers with more than 5 published articles. This would have normally barred Stark’s groups from publishing their critical replications. However, upon hearing about his amazing initiative, ScienceOpen opened their review function to each of Prof. Stark’s vetted early career researchers. And importantly, since each peer review on ScienceOpen is assigned a CrossRef DOI along with a CC-BY license, after posting their reviews, each member of the group has officially shared their very own scientific publication. 

This also means that each peer review can be easily imported into any user’s ORCID, Publons, and even ImpactStory profiles – the choice is yours!

Public, post-publication peer review works

All of the complete peer reviews from the groups of students can be found below. They all come with highly detailed statistical analyses of the research, and are thorough, constructive, and critical, as we expect an open peer review process to be.

Furthermore, unlike almost every other Post Publication Peer Review function out there, the peer reviews on ScienceOpen are integrated with graphics and plots. This awesome feature was added specifically for Prof. Stark’s course, but note that it is now available for any peer review on ScienceOpen.

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In:  Other  

Welcome to ScienceOpen version 2.017

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.

Image by Epic Fireworks, Flickr, CC BY

In 2016 ScienceOpen brought you more content: We welcomed publisher customers across the entire spectrum of disciplines to ScienceOpen and expect many more for the upcoming year. We added multiple journals from Brill, River Publishers, Open Library of Humanities, Higher Education Press and featured collections for PeerJ Computer Science, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Molecular Case Studies and the Italian Society for Victimology. We had the pleasure to work with a very diverse group, from STM to HSS, from open access to subscription-based journals, creating interdisciplinary bridges and new connections for their content. We further integrated all of SciELO on ScienceOpen this year for a more global perspective and have had a great time working with them. We are at over 27 million article records and adding content every day.

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!

Your ScienceOpen team

In:  Peer Review  

The winner of our Peer Review Week 2016 competition

For Peer Review Week 2016, we set a simple competition for you all, to publicly peer review one of 25 million research articles on our platform. This fitted perfectly with the theme this year of ‘Recognising Review’, as every single peer review conducted with us is published openly and creditable through the application of a CC BY license, which enables the unrestricted sharing and re-use of the reviews providing that attribution is given.

We’re happy to announce that Lauren Collister was the winner this year, and a t-shirt is on your way!

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Lauren performed a civil, constructive, and detailed peer review of a paper entitled Crowdsourcing Language Change with Smartphone Applications. This article is also part of our Language Change collection, created by George Walkden.

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We now have 118 open post-publication peer reviews on our platform. Each one is citable with CrossRef DOIs and can be interlinked with PublonsORCID, and ImpactStory, helping to build you profile as a researcher. This is a practical example that this form of peer review works!

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  

Disambiguating post-publication peer review

Guest post by Tony Ross-Hellauer, Scientific Manager of OpenAIRE (email ross-hellauer@sub.uni-goettingen.de). Originally posted on the OpenAIRE blog. Re-posted with permission under a CC BY license.


NOTE: OpenAIRE would like to know what you think about open peer review! Have your say here until 7th October! 

Tl;dr – “Post-publication peer review” (PPPR) has gained a lot of traction in recent years. As with much of peer review’s confusing lexicon, however, this term is ambiguous. This ambiguity stems from confusion over what constitutes “publication” in the digital age. PPPR conflates two distinct phenomena, which we would do better to treat separately, namely “open pre-review manuscripts” and “open final-version commenting”.

What is “post-publication peer review”?

Peer review can have two senses, one specific and the other more general. “Peer Review” (henceforth PR) is a well-defined publishing practice for the quality assurance of research articles and other academic outputs. It is intimately tied to the publication process. It traditionally begins when an editor sends a manuscript to reviewers and ends when the editor accepts a manuscript for publication. But “peer review” (lower-case, henceforth “pr”) is just the critique and appraisal of ideas, theories, and findings by those with particular insight into a topic. Such feedback happens all the time. It happens before manuscripts are submitted: in colleagues’ initial reactions (positive or negative) to a new idea, feedback gained from conferences, lectures, seminars and late-night bull sessions, or private comments on late-stage first-draft manuscripts from trusted peers. And it continues after the article’s appearance in a journal, via a multitude of channels through which readers can give feedback, including comment sections on journal websites, dedicated channels for post-publication commentary, blogs and social media, and of course in future research that cites and comments back on the findings.

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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.

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In:  Peer Review  

Can blog posts be used as peer reviews?

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).

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.

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