Publishers' User Guide

What's in for you in opening up peer review processes and how to promote them?


1. What is open peer review?

1.	What is open peer review?
From a publisher's perspective, open peer review refers to various models of peer review that involve the disclosure of either the reviewers' identities, or the reviewers' reports and other editorial comments on a manuscript, or both.

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2. What are the benefits of open peer review?

  • Transparency helps to identify potential conflicts of interest, and reduce potential manipulations of the peer review process
  • By disclosing reviewer identities or reports, reviewers are held accountable by the scholarly community for the quality, content, and professionalism of their reviews
  • Making reviewers' names known tends to increase fairness in peer review for the authors
  • Papers published under open peer review process show high citation performance within their fields.
All these aspects support and promote publishers' reputation.

3. How to provide incentives for reviewers?

  • The primary incentive for a reviewer is, in principle, to contribute to their field of research, and participate as a gate-keeper to confirm that a specific piece of research is valid.
  • The second incentive is for a reviewer to receive official acknowledgment for their contribution to the peer review process of paper. Given the amount of time dedicated by researchers on peer-reviewing others' work, this is an important aspect to ensure continued participation from scholars worldwide. In open peer review, this includes allowing reviewers to sign their reports and publish them alongside the paper itself, acknowledgement of the review work by name, or allowing open post-publication peer review.
  • Publishers can create further incentives, via waiving publication charges for their reviewers, acknowledging them on the journal pages, giving reviewers feedback on the quality and outcome of their review, rewarding the best reviewers with appointments to the editorial board, or travel awards for reviewers with numerous quality contributions.

4. Why should Publishers invest in training peer reviewers?

  • 60% of editors have difficulty in finding qualified reviewers
  • 64% of authors in HSS and 63% in STM who have yet to review a paper would like formal training
  • Young researchers, in particular, require guidance on how to get peer review right. Investing in training the next generation of researchers can have strong benefits across the publishing industry in general, but for individual publishers this helps build trust from these researchers and suggests that they will be more likely to review for them in the future.

5. What to do with a manuscript that was/is already peer-reviewed as a deposited preprint?

Publishers should follow their editorial processes for the peer review of submitted manuscripts when a manuscript has been posted as a preprint and received comments. The editorial process ensures the authors are taking the open feedback into account to strengthen their paper before or during the peer review process.

If a named commentator has done a thorough peer review of the preprint, the editor may consider inviting them as a formal peer reviewer for the manuscript, to both acknowledge their contribution, and speed up the review process for the authors.


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