Openness and transparency are core values of science. As a manifestation of those values, a minimum requirement for publication of any scientific results must be the public submission of materials used in generating those results. As reviewers, it is our responsibility to ensure that publications meet certain minimum quality standards.
House of Commons Science and Technology Committee
Peer review in scholarly publishing, in one form or another, has always been regarded as crucial to the reputation and reliability of scientific research. In recent years there have been an increasing number of reports and articles assessing the current state of peer review. In view of the importance of evidence-based scientific information to government, this report covers a detailed examination of the current peer-review system as used in scientific publications. Both to see whether it is operating effectively and to shine light on new and innovative approaches. In addition. it explores some of the broader issues around research impact, publication ethics and research integrity.
Adrian Mulligan, Louise Hall, Ellen Raphael
This large-scale international study measures the attitudes of more than 4,000 researchers toward peer review. In 2009, 40,000 authors of research papers from across the globe were invited to complete an online survey. Researchers were asked to rate a number of general statements about peer review, and then a subset of respondents, who had themselves peer reviewed, rated a series of statements concerning their experience of peer review. The study found that the peer review process is highly regarded by the vast majority of researchers and considered by most to be essential to the communication of scholarly research. Nine out of 10 authors believe that peer review improved the last paper they published. Double-blind peer review is considered the most effective form of peer review. Nearly three quarters of researchers think that technological advances are making peer review more effective. Most researchers believe that although peer review should identify fraud, it is very difficult for it to do so. Reviewers are committed to conducting peer review in the future and believe that simple practical steps, such as training new reviewers would further improve peer review.
Adam Smith (This report has been produced within a contract with the European Commission.)
The European Commission joined many other research funders in 2013 when it announced that one central requirement of future research grantees of Horizon 2020 would be that their research publications be made freely available to all. The Commission’s vision is open access for research outputs, as announced in its 2012 Communication. This states: “Information already paid for by the public purse should not be paid for again each time it is accessed or used, and […] should benefit European companies and citizens to the full.”
The Commission has no preferred model for how to achieve open access. It is searching for innovation wherever it may be found, from traditional commercial publishers, new organisations, distributed academic networks, and research libraries. The goal of achieving open access is a public one that sits above private interests. This sometimes means that businesses are obliged to evolve and adapt in light of the project to move towards open access.
The move to open access scholarly publishing has been accelerating for many years. It is driven by many factors, including: the emergence and expansion of the internet, which enables the fast and free dissemination of research outputs; the fact that many academic libraries are reporting the rising cost of subscription journals and the declining number of journals they can subscribe to; a moral case that publicly funded research should be freely available for all to see; and a case that more dissemination of knowledge will lead to more innovation and therefore economic growth.
Taylor & Francis
In 2015, Taylor & Francis asked researchers from around the world to take part in an online survey and a series of focus groups, which aimed to explore what the experience of peer review was like for those involved in it on a regular basis: for the authors who write the papers, for the reviewers who review them, and for the journal editors who oversee the process.