Post-publication peer review in biomedical journals: overcoming obstacles and disincentives to knowledge sharing

Authors : Valerie Matarese, Karen Shashok

The importance of post-publication peer review (PPPR) as a type of knowledge exchange has been emphasized by several authorities in research publishing, yet biomedical journals do not always facilitate this type of publication.

Here we report our experience publishing a commentary intended to offer constructive feedback on a previously published article. We found that publishing our comment required more time and effort than foreseen, because of obstacles encountered at some journals.

Using our professional experience as authors’ editors and our knowledge of publication policies as a starting point, we reflect on the probable reasons behind these obstacles, and suggest ways in which journals could make PPPR easier. In addition, we argue that PPPR should be more explicitly valued and rewarded in biomedical disciplines, and suggest how these publications could be included in research evaluations.

Eliminating obstacles and disincentives to PPPR is essential in light of the key roles of post-publication analysis and commentary in drawing attention to shortcomings in published articles that were overlooked during pre-publication peer review.

URL : Post-publication peer review in biomedical journals: overcoming obstacles and disincentives to knowledge sharing


Beyond Fact Checking: Reconsidering the Status of Truth of Published Articles

Authors : David Pontille, Didier Torny

Since the 17th century, scientific knowledge has been produced through a collective process, involving specific technologies used to perform experiments, to regulate modalities for participation of peers or lay people, and to ensure validation of the facts and publication of major results.

In such a world guided by the quest for a new kind of truth against previous beliefs various forms of misconduct – from subtle plagiarism to the entire fabrication of data and results – have largely been considered as minimal, if not inexistent.

Yet, some “betrayers of the truth” have been alleged in many fraudulent cases at least from the 1970s onward and the phenomenon is currently a growing concern in many academic corners. Facing numerous alerts, journals have generalized dedicated editorial formats to notify their readers of the emerging doubts affecting articles they had published.

This short piece is exclusively focused on these formats, which consists in “flagging” some articles to mark their problematic status.The visibility given to these flags and policies undermine the very basic components of the economy of science: How long can we collectively pretend that peer-reviewed knowledge should be the anchor to face a “post-truth” world?