Authors : Abdelghani Maddi, Chérifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri
Peer review is a central component of scholarly communication as it brings trust and quality control for scientific knowledge. One of its goals is to improve the quality of manuscripts and prevent the publication of work resulting from dubious or misconduct practices.
In a context marked by a massification of scientific production, the reign of Publish or Perish rule and the acceleration of research, journals are leaving less and less time to reviewers to produce their reports. It is therefore is crucial to study whether these regulations have an impact on the length of reviewer reports.
Here, we address the example of MDPI, a Swiss Open Access publisher, depicted as a Grey Publisher and well known for its short deadlines, by analyzing the depth of its reviewer reports and its counterparts. For this, we used Publons data with 61,197 distinct publications reviewed by 86,628 reviewers.
Our results show that, despite the short deadlines, when they accept to review a manuscript, reviewers assume their responsibility and do their job in the same way regardless of the publisher, and write on average the same number of words.
Our results suggest that, even if MDPI’s editorial practices may be questionable, as long as peer review is assured by researchers themselves, publications are evaluated similarly.