Open Peer Review
What is Open Peer Review
In traditional peer review, the identities of the reviewers are not known to the author (‘single blind’ peer review) or the identities of both authors and the reviewers are not disclosed to each other (‘double blind’ peer review). The reviews and the author’s responses are also not disclosed to the reader.
‘Open peer review’ is an umbrella term that encompasses various combinations of openness across the following elements of the review process (see Ross-Hellauer, 2017):
- Open identities: Author and reviewer identities are disclosed (to each other, and to the reader)
- Open reports: The review reports are published alongside the paper
- Open participation: The wider community can contribute to the review process
- Open interaction: Direct discussions between authors, editors and reviewers are encouraged
- Preprint open peer review: Review of preprints (e.g. on preprint servers) is possible before formal peer review
- Post-publication commenting: Readers can comment; and authors/other readers respond post-publication
- Open platforms (‘decoupled review’): Review is facilitated by a different organisational entity than the publisher.
It is sometimes called Transparent Peer Review
Types of peer-review
Single-blind: Reviewers know the authors' identities, but reviewer names are protected. Double-blink: Reviewer and author names are protected.
Reviewers sign their comments. Authors receive reviewer names in the decision letter.
Reviewers collaborate and submit joint comments, or in some cases confer with authors and editors during the review process.
Reviewers are sought by an organisation or journal and shared with any journals that require them later on.
Reviewer comments and/or names are published with the article or preprint.
After a manuscript is posted, the community reviews the research in an open forum. Reviewer names are usually published with their comments.
What are the pros and cons of open peer review?
Increased transparency and accountability. Since the process is transparent, reviewers are held to account for their report. This can help prevent citation manipulation, conflicts of interest and reduce bias.
Constructive criticism. Knowing the author’s name is likely to push reviewers to write a more balanced review where strengths as well as weaknesses are identified.
Open debate. Open identities and reviews facilitate debate whereby readers can see the reviewers’ comments and the author’s responses.
Training opportunity. When review reports are published, they can be used as learning opportunities for early career researchers who may be inexperienced in the review process.
Incentive for credit. OPR gives reviewers recognition for their role by making review activities visible and citable by assigning DOIs to reviews which can be used in ORCID profiles and cited in CVs.
Reduced scholarly rigour. There are fears that OPR may lead to a decrease in scholarly rigour if reviewers temper their criticisms for fear of reprisals.
Potential bias. Reviewers may write more positive reviews for researchers who are well-established in their fields or for papers which focus on perceived ‘hot’ topics.
Arduous review process. While the quality of review may improve, as the review is open to more scrutiny, reviewers may spend significantly longer reviewing papers.
Rejection of open identities. Some scholars may refuse to review papers if their names are to be revealed. This may result in a potentially smaller pool of reviewers for some journals.
Which journals provide open peer review?
This list is constantly growing. Please contact RDM@lboro.ac.uk if you know of a title that should be added.
- Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics: https://www.atmospheric-chemistry-and-physics.net/peer_review/interactive_review_process.html
- BMC: https://www.biomedcentral.com/getpublished/peer-review-process
- BMJ: https://www.bmj.com/about-bmj/resources-reviewers
- Copernicus: https://publications.copernicus.org/services/public_peer_review.html
- eLife https://elifesciences.org/about/peer-review
- EMBO journals https://www.embopress.org/policies
- GIGA science: https://academic.oup.com/gigascience/pages/reviewer_guidelines
- Nature journals: https://www.nature.com/ncomms/editorial-policies/peer-review
- PeerJ journals: https://peerj.com/about/policies-and-procedures/#open-peer-review
- PLOS journals https://plos.org/resource/open-peer-review/
- Royal Society Open Science: https://royalsociety.org/journals/ethics-policies/editorial-standards/
Preprint Server & Initiatives
Are there other ways I can get credit for/make my reviews more openly available?
Loughborough University systems
- Upload an open peer review report as an output directly to the Research Repository. This will then appear in LUPIN alongside your other outputs and also be made available externally.
- Add your peer review activities to your LUPIN (Loughborough University Publication Information) profile, under Professional Activities. This might include the journals, publishers and funders you review for and the frequency of your reviews. This information is currently only available internally, but there are plans to optionally surface this content on individual staff web pages.
Here are two ways of making your peer reviews visible on ORCID. You can either:
- Review for an external ‘trusted organisation’ that uploads review activity to ORCID for those reviewers that disclose their ORCID ID.
- Add your peer review activities under Professional Activities as a form of Service.
Clarivate (Web of Science) Researcher Profiles
Set up a free Researcher Profile with Clarivate, and either:
- Review for an organisation with a Clarivate Agreement, in which case your review activity (not the content of the review) will be automatically added to your profile.
- Add your peer review activity manually to your profile.
Individual publisher reviewer recognition opportunities
Some publishers offer their own recognition and reward schemes for reviewers. For example:
- Elsevier Reviewer Recognition Platform
- Taylor & Francis Peer Review recognition opportunities
- If a publisher does not offer open peer review, you can always ask them whether there is a mechanism by which they can make your review available.