Open evaluation a vision for entirely transparent post…

Open evaluation: a vision for entirely transparent post-publication peer review and rating for science :

« The two major functions of a scientific publishing system are to provide access to and evaluation of scientific papers. While open access (OA) is becoming a reality, open evaluation (OE), the other side of the coin, has received less attention. Evaluation steers the attention of the scientific community and thus the very course of science. It also influences the use of scientific findings in public policy. The current system of scientific publishing provides only journal prestige as an indication of the quality of new papers and relies on a non-transparent and noisy pre-publication peer-review process, which delays publication by many months on average. Here I propose an OE system, in which papers are evaluated post-publication in an ongoing fashion by means of open peer review and rating. Through signed ratings and reviews, scientists steer the attention of their field and build their reputation. Reviewers are motivated to be objective, because low-quality or self-serving signed evaluations will negatively impact their reputation. A core feature of this proposal is a division of powers between the accumulation of evaluative evidence and the analysis of this evidence by paper evaluation functions (PEFs). PEFs can be freely defined by individuals or groups (e.g., scientific societies) and provide a plurality of perspectives on the scientific literature. Simple PEFs will use averages of ratings, weighting reviewers (e.g., by H-index), and rating scales (e.g., by relevance to a decision process) in different ways. Complex PEFs will use advanced statistical techniques to infer the quality of a paper. Papers with initially promising ratings will be more deeply evaluated. The continual refinement of PEFs in response to attempts by individuals to influence evaluations in their own favor will make the system ungameable. OA and OE together have the power to revolutionize scientific publishing and usher in a new culture of transparency, constructive criticism, and collaboration. »


Multi-Stage Open Peer Review: Scientific Evaluation Integrating the Strengths of Traditional Peer Review with the Virtues of Transparency and Self-Regulation

The traditional forms of scientific publishing and peer review do not live up to all demands of efficient communication and quality assurance in today’s highly diverse and rapidly evolving world of science.

They need to be advanced and complemented by interactive and transparent forms of review, publication, and discussion that are open to the scientific community and to the public.

The advantages of open access, public peer review, and interactive discussion can be efficiently and flexibly combined with the strengths of traditional scientific peer review. Since 2001 the benefits and viability of this approach are clearly demonstrated by the highly successful interactive open access journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP, and a growing number of sister journals launched and operated by the European Geosciences Union (EGU, and the open access publisher Copernicus (

The interactive open access journals are practicing an integrative multi-stage process of publication and peer review combined with interactive public discussion, which effectively resolves the dilemma between rapid scientific exchange and thorough quality assurance.

Key features and achievements of this approach are: top quality and impact, efficient self-regulation and low rejection rates, high attractivity and rapid growth, low costs, and financial sustainability.

In fact, ACP and the EGU interactive open access sister journals are by most if not all standards more successful than comparable scientific journals with traditional or alternative forms of peer review (editorial statistics, publication statistics, citation statistics, economic costs, and sustainability).

The high efficiency and predictive validity of multi-stage open peer review have been confirmed in a series of dedicated studies by evaluation experts from the social sciences, and the same or similar concepts have recently also been adopted in other disciplines, including the life sciences and economics.

Multi-stage open peer review can be flexibly adjusted to the needs and peculiarities of different scientific communities. Due to the flexibility and compatibility with traditional structures of scientific publishing and peer review, the multi-stage open peer review concept enables efficient evolution in scientific communication and quality assurance.

It has the potential for swift replacement of hidden peer review as the standard of scientific quality assurance, and it provides a basis for open evaluation in science. »