The Open Scholarship Initiative 2016 (OSI2016) Peer Review workgroup focused on peer review in the context of open scholarship. The group agreed that greater openness and transparency would improve accountability, minimize bias, and encourage collaboration, but did not underestimate the challenges of openness, nor the variation in readiness across disciplines and publishing models. The group recommended facilitation of peer review outside the traditional publication process—for example, in the context of preprint servers and after publication—with incentives for broad participation. These incentives need to include a cultural shift in recognition of peer review as a valid activity contributing to career progression.
Peer review is the practice by which the worth of research is evaluated by those with demonstrated competence to make a judgment. It is the traditional means by which research quality is guaranteed in academic studies. The British Academy was concerned that the role peer review plays in underpinning the success of the UK research enterprise in the humanities and social sciences needed to be better understood by policy-makers.
A guide to peer review written for early career researchers.
This is a nuts and bolts guide to peer review for early career researchers written by members of the VoYS network. Using a collection of concerns raised by their peers, the VoYS writing team set off to interview scientists, journal editors, grant bodies’ representatives, patient group workers and journalists in the UK and around the world to find out how peer review works, the challenges for peer review and how to get involved.
Peer review is the principal mechanism by which the quality of research is judged. Most funding decisions in science and the academic advancement of scientists are based on peer-reviewed publications. Because the number of scientific articles published each year continues to grow, the quality of the peer-review process and the quality of the editorial board are cited as primary influences on a journal’s reputation, impact factor, and standing in the field. Scientific journals publishing peer-reviewed articles depend heavily on the scientific referees or reviewers who typically volunteer their time and expertise. In most circumstances, at least 2 reviewers are solicited to evaluate a manuscript; some journals request 3 reviews. This may be required in situations where review by a statistician is needed. In cases of controversy or strong disagreement regarding the merits of the work, an additional review may also be solicited or one of the journal’s editors might give an evaluation. More than 3 reviewers are sometimes used if reviewers from several fields are needed to obtain a thorough evaluation of a paper. In addition to fairness in judgment and expertise in the field, peer reviewers have significant responsibilities toward authors, editors, and readers.
International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM) publishing takes place within the broader system of scholarly communication, which includes both formal and informal elements. Scholarly communication plays different roles at different stages of the research cycle, and (like publishing) is undergoing technology-driven change. Categorising the modes of communication into one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many, and then into oral and written, provides a helpful framework for analysing the potential impacts of technology on scholarly communication. This STM report was published in 2015.