Editorial and peer-review process innovations: A report from the 2017 Peer Review Congress

Editorial and peer-review process innovations: A report from the 2017 Peer Review Congress

Hridey Manghwani, Manager, Corporate Communications, Editage, is attending the 2017 Peer Review Congress. This is Hridey’s private report of the third day of the conference. 

The concentrate of the 2017 Peer Review Congress eventually shifted on Day Trio to innovations and fresh trends in peer review. Compared to days 1 and Two that focused on clinical trials, day Three was packed with discussions about other areas of scientific publishing and process-related innovations. The session on editorial and peer-review process innovations was particularly interesting. Journals introduced data about the influence of process innovations implemented by them.

Malcolm Macleod from the University of Edinburgh kicked things off with his discussion on the influence of a switch in the editorial process at the Nature Publishing Group (NPG) on their reporting of biomedical research. The explore analyzed life science articles published in NPG journals, post the implementation of a mandatory checklist (in May 2013) that had to be finished by authors at the point of manuscript revision. The probe investigated the switch in the proportion of articles published before and after May 2013, reporting Four criteria: information on randomization, dazzling, sample size calculation, and exclusions. These measures were expected to reduce bias in the reporting of in vivo research. The investigate concluded that there was a substantial improvement in the reporting of these measures after the checklist was mandated. However, there is room for further improvement in these editorial processes.

Elizabeth Seiver from PLOS was next to share the journal’s assessment and practice with signed peer reviews, wherein the reviewers collective their identity with the author. The examine analyzed review-signing data from PLOS One, PLOS Medicine, and PLOS Computational Biology inbetween mid-2013 and the end of 2016. Over 450,000 reviews were analyzed of which only 7.7% were signed. The opinions of authors differed from those of reviewers and different research communities reacted differently towards review signing.

PLOS Medicine maintained a strong tradition of review-signing, whereas PLOS Computational Biology was fairly conservative about it despite their familiarity with open peer review. She concluded her presentation by encouraging other journals to adopt signed review and suggested that a direct request to reviewers from the journal would help. In addition to signing incentives, explaining benefits of signing and communicating perspectives of authors would undoubtedly help persuade reviewers to sign peer reviews.

Alice Meadows from ORCID was next to take the stage. She spoke about the use of persistent identifiers (PIDs) and the use of ORCID in the peer review process. She collective early results of Two analyses, one about the uptake of ORCID identifiers and another about the review uptake of the peer review functionality associated with ORCID identifiers. The analyses concluded that the use of PIDs varied by discipline and country for general as well as peer review activity. The initial feedback received from reviewers showcased that they spotted value in linking peer reviews to ORCID iDs. However, their level of understanding of such a link was very low, indicating a need to increase education and outreach. ORCID hopes to be adopted in various peer review workflows in the future and expects that this could help address all issues about recognition for reviewers.

The final presentation of this session was by Sara Schroter from the BMJ. The BMJ dreamed to check the feasibility of incorporating patient peer reviews into the traditional peer review process. This presentation was perhaps the most fascinating innovation that was discussed on Day Trio.In addition to comparing acceptance and completion rates as well as timeliness of review inbetween patient reviewers and traditional reviewers, authors and reviewers were surveyed about their views on the value of patient reviews. 

The results concluded that patient peer review was feasible along with traditional peer review. It was considered beneficial by some editors and very significant by patients and caregivers. However, future qualitative studies would evaluate the value of switches made to manuscripts because of patient reviews. A upbeat discussion with the audience after the presentation resulted in highlighting some possible negatives such as qualifications of the patient, which was not considered in this explore. Everyone agreed that a patient’s practice and perspective would add valuable information to any probe.

We’ll cover the sessions of the 2nd half in the next part of the report. The post-lunch sessions will discuss pre-publication and post-publication issues.

Related reading:

  • Quality of scientific literature: A report from the 2017 Peer Review Congress
  • Exploring funding and grant reviews: A report from the 2017 Peer Review Congress
  • Quality of reporting in scientific publications: A report from the 2017 Peer Review Congress
  • Research integrity and misconduct in science: A report from the 2017 Peer Review Congress
  • Biases in scientific publication: A report from the 2017 Peer Review Congress

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