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Managing transparent peer review at ScienceOpen


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.


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.


As a requirement to perform peer review on ScienceOpen, reviewers must have an ORCID profile. This is because reviewer names are publicised alongside their reports for transparency to ensure the process is fully accountable. ORCID is rapidly become an essential part of the research process. We are happy to work with them to make the ScienceOpen user experience more efficient.


We know that peer review can often be a thankless task, often going unrewarded for voluntary researchers. We strongly believe that researchers should be fully recognised for their work as reviewers.

As a sign of our gratitude, we make sure that all reviews:

  • Are fully creditable by assigning a Crossref DOI to them, meaning they can be integrated into platforms such as ORCID, Publons, or ImpactStory.
  • Are fully transferable through assignment of a CC BY license. This means they can be treated in a similar manner to any other Open Access publication.
  • Can be shared on Twitter, your website, or wherever you wish. Demonstrate your commitment and contribution to the scientific community!

This is all part of our mission to help treat scholarly publishing as a collaborative process, not a series of static events. Post-publication peer review is about adding context to research articles. It can let readers know what is good about articles, what works well, or perhaps where the weaknesses are. It’s about sharing your expertise to increase research efficiency, speed up collaboration, and reduce redundancy.

Try it and let us know what you think!

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