The long-awaited Peer Review Week has just started, and we could not be more excited! This year’s edition is all about quality in peer review. So, what does quality peer review look like and why is it important?
Peer review is key to facilitating the growth of scientific knowledge. It allows the community to pool its resources, provide guidance and maintain a common standard of research. It is in everybody’s interest to ensure its highest quality, and the more is invested into this process, the higher the returns. However, the lack of transparency, accountability, and recognition for reviewers creates an unsustainable model of peer review and hampers realizing its full potential.
Launching a new open access journal or an open access press? ScienceOpen now provides full end-to-end open access publishing solutions – embedded within our smart interactive discovery environment. A modular approach allows open access publishers to pick and choose among a range of services and design the platform that fits their goals and budget.
You want to create a unique publishing identity? Book your own sub-domain powered by ScienceOpen to manage and host existing open access publications or start new journals. ScienceOpen can provide technical infrastructure for manuscript submission, peer review management, open access hosting, article versioning, distribution, analytics and APC management for journals and (coming soon) books. The ScienceOpen platform has its own powerful citation index and is uniquely integrated with ORCID, Crossref and Altmetric to immediately plug your publications into the infrastructure of global scholarly communication.
Prof. Beutel is editor of the collection ‘Coleoptera’,
a comprehensive overview of over 9,000 research articles covering this
immensely diverse group. This ScienceOpen collection goes beyond the
traditional fields of taxonomy and morphology, and integrates an increasing
number of open access records. Curated by an evolutionary biologist who
considers himself primarily a systematist, the collection covers multiple lines
of research, such as phylogeny, classification, genetics, and physiology. ‘Coleoptera’
is an indispensable tool in biodiversity research and provides an essential
reference system for studies in other fields. Evolutionary biology of
Coleoptera relates to topics such as physiological and genetic
backgrounds of feeding habits or reproductive biology, making it an exciting
group to study. This is especially true in our “age of
phylogenomics”, when rapidly growing
molecular data opens new fascinating perspectives in the research on beetles
and other organisms.
To celebrate the winter holidays and reward one lucky researcher, we would like to announce a prize draw to win an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet this month! To participate, all you need to do is review an article on ScienceOpen before the end of December and we will automatically consider you for the drawing.
Preprints, first draft research manuscripts, have existed almost as long as the Internet. Scientists have been taking advantage of online communication to speed up research for almost 3 decades. ScienceOpen understands the importance of allowing researchers to openly share their results with the scientific community at an early stage in their research. The advantage for researchers is that they get early feedback from peers but can still publish the final version in most peer-reviewed journals of their choosing. To support researchers in fully utilizing the benefits of preprint publishing, ScienceOpen is pleased to launch open and free preprint publishing on our platform! With this beta service, anyone can now upload, publish, and promote their preprint using a free and simple interface with access to a full suite of tools for peer review, constructive discussion through comments, and usage and impact tracking.
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. Continue reading “Diverse Approaches to Peer Review”
The “Preprint” allows researchers to openly share their results with peers at an early stage and still publish the final version in the peer-reviewed journal of their choice. From the start, ScienceOpen has supported preprints and their essential role in speeding up science by integrating arXiv preprints in the physical sciences on the platform. We now include over 1.4 million arXiv records on ScienceOpen. In our new release we have added even more preprints to the mix, with a focus on the biomedical sciences.
Preprints in the biological and medical sciences were kickstarted by the founding of bioRxiv in 2013, and by the advocacy organization ASAPBio in 2015 and have taken off rapidly since then. Now on ScienceOpen we have added records for over 20,000 bioRxiv preprints to our discovery environment, together with the capacity to include records from other preprint servers such as PeerJ Preprints, Preprints.org and ChemRxiv. Up next are all the great preprint servers on OSF Preprints. We are working hard!
Preprints have the advantage of being rapidly and freely accessible. However, they have not undergone a peer review process and must be read with a more critical eye. Preprints are, therefore, clearly flagged on ScienceOpen. During his physics PhD, ScienceOpen co-founder Alexander Grossmann and his colleagues went first to the arXiv for the newest results to build upon and shape their thinking. They knew it was unfiltered and not peer reviewed, but they were often already at the next step in their research by the time the final version was published. Many features on ScienceOpen were created with this kind of speed in mind. Continue reading “Speeding up Research with Preprints”
This Spring, we are organising a little competition for all you researchers! Review an article on ScienceOpen before the end of April, and we will enter you into a prize drawing for an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet.
Open Peer Review on ScienceOpen
ScienceOpen counts currently more than 40 million articles including 3.7 million open access articles as well as more than 1.4 million preprint articles. All these articles are open on ScienceOpen to a fully transparent review process: open identities, open reports, and open interaction on the platform (see our precedent blogpost here).
At ScienceOpen, we believe that “Open Science” is not just about sharing research data. For us, “Open Science” aims to make research and underlying data accessible in order toinform andallow researchers communities to take part in discussions regarding their field, increasingoverall participation and relevant inclusion of different perspectives.
Open peer reviews are also crucial in this current context of rapid development of open science and digital scientific communication. If the openness of scientific contents is a first victory for the advancement of research and innovation, open peer review still needs to be embodied in this practice to establish its full credibility and full benefit. (Picture: CC0 1.0)
What does reviewing on ScienceOpen bring concretely to reviewers?
→ Reviews are published under Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY (4.0) and will receive a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) from Crossref. This makes them fully equivalent to any Open Access publication, and they can be cited or integrated further into platforms like Publons, Impactstory, or ORCID.
→ As open access publications indexed on ScienceOpen, reviews are public and can be found easily on the platform using the filter “Content type”: “Review”. For a more precise search, this filter can be used for example in combination with the title of an article.
→ Reviewing articles on ScienceOpen is a great way to show the reviewer’s involvement in his/her research field and his/her appreciation for researchers who have dedicated their time to providing a research resource to their community.
Ready, set, go!
The only requirement to write a review on ScienceOpen is to be registered with ORCID (already done with a ScienceOpen profile) and have at least five publications assigned to the ORCID account (with which you reach ScienceOpen–Expert status). If you do not meet these requirements but would still like to review a paper, contact us.
The UCL Press announced ambitions for its megajournal project during a town hall event on January 16th 2018 with Dr. Paul Ayris, CEO of UCL Press and Pro-Vice-Provost (Library Services), and Prof. David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research), describing the wide-reaching goals and ideals that have moved the university in this undertaking. See the UCL news pages.
The town hall began the discussion by inviting Robert Kiley of the Wellcome Trust who gave some insight into their successful Wellcome Open Research megajournal, describing the rationale behind the move and how its researchers have taken to it.
UCL Press, having partnered with ScienceOpen to provide a hosting platform for its current eight academic journals, invited Stephanie Dawson, CEO of ScienceOpen, to discuss the further developments and vision toward providing researchers and publishers the infrastructure towards more open and transparent peer review and publication models, with increased search and discoverability.
Catriona MacCallum, previously with the Open Access publisher PLoS and consultant on the first megajournal PLoSONE, and now Director of Open Science with Hindawi, then painted a broad picture of the values, tools and advantages of an open science framework from an individual, institutional and societal perspective.
Ian Caswell, UCL Press Journals Manager, then outlined the aims and ambition of the UCL Press megajournal project to offer researchers and academics the opportunity to publish cross-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary work, characterized by openness.
The next step of the UCL Press megajournal is to begin a campus-wide consultation on the needs and expectations of the UCL community in terms of open peer review and versioning, editorial oversight, topical focus, and technicalities.
A megajournal is by definition of broad scope so as to encourage inter-/cross-disciplinarity and to provide a publishing outlet for content that is not easily categorized. The UCL Press megajournal will begin with a focus on environmental sciences, including contributions from earth sciences, geography, UCL’s medical school, population sciences and UCL Institute of Education. Ultimately, the goal is to provide a platform for the entire university and beyond. Interested UCL researchers outside of these fields should contact UCL Press Journals Manager Ian Caswell about expanding the scope of the platform.
Some topical selection, however, can be very useful for readers in discovering new and related articles in their field. Traditionally, enforcing a narrow definition of scope has been the role of the editor. With this in mind, the ScienceOpen platform opens up the possibility for researchers to create their own topical selection from the whole scholarly corpus. UCL researchers are invited to explore this possibility and create a ScienceOpen “Collection” with the top articles in their fields that can also include articles published in the megajournal or other UCL Press journals. To apply for Collection Editor status contact Stephanie Dawson at ScienceOpen.
The aim of the UCL Press megajournal is to publish sound research, rather than hyped-up results. It aims to welcome research of all kinds like negative or inconclusive results, descriptive papers, protocols, methods or data papers, literature reviews. The focus of the platform will not be on “impact factor”, but rather individual article and author metrics which can be tracked on the platform and used in individualized search and sort mechanisms within the ScienceOpen discovery environment. The consultation and development of the UCL Press megajournal is still on-going and further details will be announced as to its exact aims and scope and submission criteria.
Open and Post Publication Peer Review
By utilising open peer review, we can promote accountable, responsible, and high quality assessment and evaluation of publications. However, what is the purpose and character of “open” and “post-publication” peer review in an open access megajournal? One way to think of it is the tradition of publishing “book reviews” in the social sciences and humanities, which could provide a good model. Other platforms such as Copernicus, F1000 Research or newcomer SciPost have functional systems of review that are closer to the journal peer review model. UCL Press will be consulting with researchers on how the platform can provide the best quality feedback from peers in a constructive way within the technical scope of the platform.
The ScienceOpen platform infrastructure allows for any registered user with an ORCID and “expert” status (5 published articles) to review any paper. The author or any user can also invite reviewers via the platform. Potential reviewers who do not meet these basic criteria can still review an article if the editor decides to give them reviewer status. Because each review receives a DOI and is deposited with the publishing metadata hubs Crossref and ORCID, it is challenging to include anonymous and unaccountable reviews on the platform.
If peer review is conducted transparently and openly, authors must have the possibility of revising their articles and tracking those revisions on the platform. The ScienceOpen platform can provide the infrastructure for this versioning system, however, questions remain on how versioning will inform best publication practice, like should the first submission of an article be regarded as a “preprint” which can be taken down if the community review is very negative or published elsewhere? Alternatively, on the other hand, should it be regarded as a publication from the start with the first version only being retracted in extreme cases? Each policy has its advantages and disadvantages which requires careful discussion towards development into a working model.
The level of editorial oversight is another question that all megajournals must decide upon. In the first phase of the megajournal project, it is likely to have a focus to staff and students of UCL, but does not necessarily mean the megajournal will be limited to only UCL authors. As the journal expands its scope and audience to accept articles from beyond the university, it may become necessary to adjust and reassess the review process before publication to prevent poor or fraudulent research from being added to the corpus of published scholarly work.
The UCL Press megajournal will publish all articles open access with a Creative Commons CC BY license. The ScienceOpen platform will require ORCID IDs from all authors and Fundref IDs for funding bodies are encouraged. Open references through CrossRef as part of the I4OC initiative and open data summaries in manuscripts to link to or describe how to access the data underlying the publication, will be available for use for the UCL Press megajournal. All of these technicalities are still under consultation at UCL Press and further announcements will be made on the UCL Press website and social media.
Launching a megajournal for UCL is a project that requires vision and commitment from the university and the community. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let’s change the landscape of scholarly communication together!
Welcome to 2018! In December we highlighted our topical Collections on ScienceOpen and asked you to review any paper in a collection to enter a drawing for an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. Today we would like to thank everyone who shared their expertise on ScienceOpen over the last year and are happy to announce the winner: Agustín Estrada Peña of the University of Zaragoza, Spain.
Agustín is editor of the collection Ticks and Tick-Borne Pathogens, a comprehensive overview with over 11,000 articles covering the whole spectrum from biology and habitats to molecular mechanisms of disease and epidemiology. The ScienceOpen collection format allows researchers to search within these papers with a wide range of filters and quickly change the top view with sort by date, citations, Altmetric Score, usage and more to drill down and find interesting new work.