What is open peer review? A systematic review

Author : Tony Ross-Hellauer


“Open peer review” (OPR), despite being a major pillar of Open Science, has neither a standardized definition nor an agreed schema of its features and implementations. The literature reflects this, with a myriad of overlapping and often contradictory definitions.

While the term is used by some to refer to peer review where the identities of both author and reviewer are disclosed to each other, for others it signifies systems where reviewer reports are published alongside articles.

For others it signifies both of these conditions, and for yet others it describes systems where not only “invited experts” are able to comment. For still others, it includes a variety of combinations of these and other novel methods.


Recognising the absence of a consensus view on what open peer review is, this article undertakes a systematic review of definitions of “open peer review” or “open review”, to create a corpus of 122 definitions.

These definitions are then systematically analysed to build a coherent typology of the many different innovations in peer review signified by the term, and hence provide the precise technical definition currently lacking.


This quantifiable data yields rich information on the range and extent of differing definitions over time and by broad subject area. Quantifying definitions in this way allows us to accurately portray exactly how  ambiguously the phrase “open peer review”  has been used thus far, for the literature offers a total of 22 distinct configurations of seven traits, effectively meaning that there are 22 different definitions of OPR in the literature.


Based on this work, I propose a pragmatic definition of open peer review as an umbrella term for a number of overlapping ways that peer review models can be adapted in line with the ethos of Open Science, including making reviewer and author identities open, publishing review reports and enabling greater participation in the peer review process.

URL : What is open peer review? A systematic review

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.11369.1

Emerging trends in peer review—a survey

Authors : Richard Walker, Pascal Rocha da Silva

“Classical peer review” has been subject to intense criticism for slowing down the publication process, bias against specific categories of paper and author, unreliability, inability to detect errors and fraud, unethical practices, and the lack of recognition for unpaid reviewers.

This paper surveys innovative forms of peer review that attempt to address these issues. Based on an initial literature review, we construct a sample of 82 channels of scientific communication covering all forms of review identified by the survey, and analyze the review mechanisms used by each channel.

We identify two major trends: the rapidly expanding role of preprint servers (e.g., ArXiv) that dispense with traditional peer review altogether, and the growth of “non-selective review,” focusing on papers’ scientific quality rather than their perceived importance and novelty.

Other potentially important developments include forms of “open review,” which remove reviewer anonymity, and interactive review, as well as new mechanisms for post-publication review and out-of-channel reader commentary, especially critical commentary targeting high profile papers.

One of the strongest findings of the survey is the persistence of major differences between the peer review processes used by different disciplines. None of these differences is likely to disappear in the foreseeable future.

The most likely scenario for the coming years is thus continued diversification, in which different review mechanisms serve different author, reader, and publisher needs. Relatively little is known about the impact of these innovations on the problems they address. These are important questions for future quantitative research.

URL : Emerging trends in peer review—a survey

DOI : https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2015.00169

Open Post Publication Peer Review: An Innovation in Scientific Communication

Authors : Peiling Wang, Manasa Rath, Michael Deike, Wu Qiang

This research observes the emerging open peer review journals. In scientific publishing, transparency in peer review is a growing topic of interest for online journals. The traditional blind refereeing process has been criticized for lacking transparency.

Although the idea of open peer review (OPR) has been explored since 1980s, it is only in this decade that OPR journals are born. Towards a more open publishing model, the peer review process–once accessible only to the editors and referees—is now available to public.

The published article and its review history are being integrated into one entity; readers can submit or post comments to extend the peer process. This preliminary study observed four pioneer OPR journals representing pre-publication OPR and post-publication OPR.

Data collection focuses on publication’s lifecycle from its submission to peer approval. Preliminary results include comparisons of the level of openness and nature of interactions during refereeing process.

URL : http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_infosciepubs/55/

Opening Review in LIS Journals: A Status Report

Author : Emily Ford


Peer-review practices in scholarly publishing are changing. Digital publishing mechanisms allow for open peer review, a peer review process that discloses author and reviewer identities to one another.

This model of peer review is increasingly implemented in scholarly publishing. In science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines, open peer review is implemented in journal publishing processes, and, in the humanities and social sciences, it is often coupled with new scholarship practices, such as the digital humanities.

This article reports findings from an exploratory study on peer-review and publishing practices in Library and Information Science (LIS), focusing on LIS’s relationships with open peer review.


Editors of LIS journals were surveyed regarding journal peer review and publishing practices.


This article reports the general “pulse” of attitudes and conversations regarding open peer review and discusses its challenges in LIS. Results show an ideological split between traditionally-published journals and open access and association-affiliated journals. Open access and association-affiliated journal editors are more likely to consider investigating open peer review.


The LIS community of journal editors, authors, reviewers, and readers need to discuss open peer review as well as experiment with it. Experiments with open peer review in scholarly LIS publishing will inform our praxis as librarians.

URL : Opening Review in LIS Journals: A Status Report

DOI : http://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.2148

Open peer review : from an experiment to a model. A narrative of an open peer review experimentation

This article narrates the development of the experimentation of an open peer review and open commentary protocols. This experiment concerns propositions of articles for the environmental sciences journal VertigO, digital and open access scientific publication.

This experiment did not last long enough (4 months) and was not deployed on a large enough corpus (10 preprints) to lead to firm quantitative conclusions. However, it highlights practical leads and thoughts about the potentialities and the limitations of the open review processes – in the broadest sense – for scientific publishing.

Based on the exemplary of the experiment and a participant observation as a copy-editor devoted to open peer review, the article finally proposes a model from the experimented prototype.

This model, named OPRISM, could be implemented on other publishing contexts for social sciences and humanities. Central and much debated activity in the academic world, peer review refers to different practices such as control, validation, allocation and contradiction exercised by the scientific community for itself.

Its scope is wide: from the allocation for funding to the relevance of a recruitment. According to common sense, the control of the scientific community by itself is a guarantee of scientific quality.

This issue became even more important in an international context of competition between universities and between scholars themselves.

URL : Open peer review : from an experiment to a model

Alternative location : https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01302597

Évaluation ouverte par les pairs : de l’expérimentation à la modélisation : Récit d’une expérience d’évaluation ouverte par les pairs

Cet article relate le déroulement de l’expérimentation d’un dispositif d’évaluation ouverte par les pairs et de commentaire ouvert, pour des propositions d’articles à la revue en sciences de l’environnement VertigO, publication scientifique électronique en accès libre.

Si cette expérimentation ne s’est pas déroulée sur un temps assez long (4 mois) et un corpus assez étendu (10 manuscrits) pour en tirer des conclusions quantitatives fermes, elle expose néanmoins des pistes et des réflexions concrètes sur les potentialités et les limites de l’ouverture des processus d’évaluation – au sens large – pour la publication scientifique.

Se basant sur l’exemplarité de l’expérience et une observation participante en tant que secrétaire de rédaction consacré à l’évaluation ouverte, l’article propose finalement la modélisation du prototype expérimenté. Ce modèle, surnommé OPRISM, pourrait être utilisé dans d’autres cadres éditoriaux pour les sciences humaines et sociales.

URL : https://hal-paris1.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01283582v1

A new scholar’s perspective on open peer review

This article argues that the pedagogical and scholarly benefits of open peer review far outweigh those of traditional double-blind peer review, but require a shift in our perspective of the function and value of peer review – from a gate-keeping process, toward a supportive, constructive process of collaboration between peers and mentors.

URL : http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2015.1085857