Policy ForumScientific Publishing

Promote scientific integrity via journal peer review data

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Science  21 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6348, pp. 256-257
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan4141

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  • RE: Research into peer review

    I read with interest Lee and Moher’s article (1). However, many journals are indeed already taking an active approach and including the principles of open science – transparency, accountability, reproducibility – into peer review.

    Squazzoni et al. (2) invite journals to share peer review data through the PEERE initiative, a European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action. A number of publishers and supporters are involved (EASE, Elsevier, PRE-val, Royal Society, Springer Nature, Wiley). Recently, Birkbeck, University of London, announced a research project with PLOS, to explore peer review (3). It’s heartening to see an increasing awareness of the importance of collaborative, evidence-based approaches to investigating peer review.

    Is there a role for technology and artificial intelligence in the future of peer review? Almost certainly (4). However, perhaps the most parsimonious solution to improving the integrity of the peer review process is through transparency, fittingly the theme for this year’s Peer Review Week (5). This could involve simply naming the handling editor and/or peer reviewers on the published article, through to posting the content of the reviewers’ reports (“transparent” peer review), or posting content and reviewer names (“open” peer review). Those in favour of openness agree that it facilitates accountability and recognition for peer review, and may bring other benefits in supporting and training early career researchers. At...

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    Competing Interests: EM is Senior Editor (Research Integrity) at BMC, part of Springer Nature. She is on the Editorial Board of Research Integrity and Peer Review, a COPE Council Member, and a Member of the Advisory Board for EnTIRE (an EU proposal for Mapping the research ethics and research integrity framework).
  • Reproducibility is a key for real peer-reviewed evaluations

    Carole J. Lee, et al. mentioned scientific integrity via journal peer review data in their paper (1). Reproducibility is a key for real peer-reviewed evaluations. Each of assigned reviewers must have the certain facility to be able to examine the reproducibility of the proposed method. Without examination of the reproducibility, the comment from a reviewer is not based on sound science, but on his/her private professional opinion. Government's role is critical and needed for affording such facility for justification of the scientific advances as trusted third party. Editor's role is to assign capable reviewers where every reviewer will examine the reproducibility by himself/herself or will outsource the examination to the trusted third party. Who will pay or fund for real peer-reviewed evaluations: publishers, authors, or government?

    References:
    1. Carole J. Lee, et al., Promote scientific integrity via journal peer review data, Science 21 Jul 2017: Vol. 357, Issue 6348, pp. 256-257

    Competing Interests: None declared.