The limitations to our understanding of peer review

Authors : Jonathan P. Tennant, Tony Ross-Hellauer

Peer review is embedded in the core of our scholarly knowledge generation systems, conferring legitimacy on research while distributing academic capital and prestige on individuals.

Despite its critical importance, it curiously remains poorly understood in a number of dimensions. In order to address this, we have programmatically analysed peer review to assess where the major gaps in our theoretical and empirical understanding of it lie.

We distill this into core themes around editorial accountability, the subjectivity and bias of reviewers, the function and quality of peer review, the role of the reviewer, the social and epistemic implications of peer review, and regarding innovations in open peer review platforms and services.

We use this to present a guide for the future of peer review, and the development of a new research discipline based on the study of peer review. Such a field requires sustained funding and commitment from publishers and research funders, who both have a commitment to uphold the integrity of the published scholarly record.

This will require the design of a consensus for a minimal set of standards for what constitutes peer review, and the development of a shared data infrastructure to support this.

We recognise that many of the criticisms attributed to peer review might reflect wider issues within academia and wider society, and future care will be required in order to carefully demarcate and address these.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/jq623

Open Up: A Survey on Open and Non-anonymized Peer Reviewing

Authors : Lonni Besançon, Niklas Rönnberg, Jonas Löwgren, Jonathan P. Tennant, Matthew Cooper

We present a discussion and analysis regarding the benefits and limitations of open and non-anonymized peer review based on literature results and responses to a survey on the reviewing process of alt.chi, a more or less open-review track within the CHI conference, the predominant conference in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI).

This track currently is the only implementation of an open-peer-review process in the field of HCI while, with the recent increase in interest in open science practices, open review is now being considered and used in other fields.

We collected 30 responses from alt.chi authors and reviewers and found that, while the benefits are quite clear and the system is generally well liked by alt.chi participants, they are reluctant to see it used in other venues.

This concurs with a number of recent studies that suggest a divergence between support for a more open review process and its practical implementation. The data and scripts are available on https://osf.io/vuw7h/, and the figures and follow-up work on http://tiny.cc/OpenReviews.

URL : Open Up: A Survey on Open and Non-anonymized Peer Reviewing

Alternative location : https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/201905.0098/v2

 

Ten Hot Topics around Scholarly Publishing

Authors : Jonathan P. Tennant, Harry Crane, Tom Crick, Jacinto Davila, Asura Enkhbayar, Johanna Havemann, Bianca Kramer, Ryan Martin, Paola Masuzzo,  Andy Nobes, Curt Rice, Bárbara Rivera-López, Tony Ross-Hellauer, Susanne Sattler, Paul D. Thacker, Marc Vanholsbeeck

The changing world of scholarly communication and the emerging new wave of ‘Open Science’ or ‘Open Research’ has brought to light a number of controversial and hotly debated topics.

Evidence-based rational debate is regularly drowned out by misinformed or exaggerated rhetoric, which does not benefit the evolving system of scholarly communication.

This article aims to provide a baseline evidence framework for ten of the most contested topics, in order to help frame and move forward discussions, practices, and policies.

We address issues around preprints and scooping, the practice of copyright transfer, the function of peer review, predatory publishers, and the legitimacy of ‘global’ databases.

These arguments and data will be a powerful tool against misinformation across wider academic research, policy and practice, and will inform changes within the rapidly evolving scholarly publishing system.

URL : Ten Hot Topics around Scholarly Publishing

DOI : https://doi.org/10.3390/publications7020034

A multi-disciplinary perspective on emergent and future innovations in peer review

Authors : Jonathan P. Tennant, Jonathan M. Dugan, Daniel Graziotin, Damien C. Jacques, François Waldner, Daniel Mietchen, Yehia Elkhatib, Lauren B. Collister, Christina K. Pikas, Tom Crick, Paola Masuzzo, Anthony Caravaggi, Devin R. Berg, Kyle E. Niemeyer, Tony Ross-Hellauer, Sara Mannheimer, Lillian Rigling, Daniel S. Kat, Bastian Greshake Tzovaras, Josmel Pacheco-Mendoza, Nazeefa Fatima, Marta Poblet, Marios Isaakidis, Dasapta Erwin Irawan, Sébastien Renaut, Christopher R. Madan, Lisa Matthias, Jesper Nørgaard Kjær, Daniel Paul O’Donnell, Cameron Neylon, Sarah Kearns, Manojkumar Selvaraju, Julien Colomb

Peer review of research articles is a core part of our scholarly communication system. In spite of its importance, the status and purpose of peer review is often contested. What is its role in our modern digital research and communications infrastructure?

Does it perform to the high standards with which it is generally regarded? Studies of peer review have shown that it is prone to bias and abuse in numerous dimensions, frequently unreliable, and can fail to detect even fraudulent research.

With the advent of Web technologies, we are now witnessing a phase of innovation and experimentation in our approaches to peer review. These developments prompted us to examine emerging models of peer review from a range of disciplines and venues, and to ask how they might address some of the issues with our current systems of peer review.

We examine the functionality of a range of social Web platforms, and compare these with the traits underlying a viable peer review system: quality control, quantified performance metrics as engagement incentives, and certification and reputation.

Ideally, any new systems will demonstrate that they out-perform current models while avoiding as many of the biases of existing systems as possible. We conclude that there is considerable scope for new peer review initiatives to be developed, each with their own potential issues and advantages.

We also propose a novel hybrid platform model that, at least partially, resolves many of the technical and social issues associated with peer review, and can potentially disrupt the entire scholarly communication system.

Success for any such development relies on reaching a critical threshold of research community engagement with both the process and the platform, and therefore cannot be achieved without a significant change of incentives in research environments.

URL : A multi-disciplinary perspective on emergent and future innovations in peer review

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.12037.1