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Guest Post: What a new Publons Report on Peer Review Says About Diversity, and More – Scholarly Kitchen (Tom Culley, et al | September 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on September 17, 2018

Editor’s Note: This third installment of posts for Peer Review Week is a guest post from Tom Culley and the team at Publons.

For centuries academic journals have brought modern research from around the globe into regularly published pages for consumption. At the heart of this system is peer review — the process we rely on to ensure the quality and integrity of scholarly communication. But as the research market grows exponentially the peer review system is feeling the strain.

Last week (10-15 September 2018) was peer review week and the theme was diversity in peer review.  This item refers to work that highlights we aren’t there yet. In addition to including links to a few other items from last week, we’ve linked to a few other items about this essential component of quality research.

How do we know this? Publons Global State of Peer Review Report brings a new level of transparency to the state of peer review, revealing the numbers behind who’s doing it, how well they’re doing it, and how efficient the process really is. The timing is right, as the community comes together to celebrate the fourth installment of Peer Review Week, focusing on the theme of Diversity and Inclusion in Peer Review.
Released on September 7th, the report combines novel results of a global survey alongside data from PublonsScholarOne, and Web of Science. For the survey, Publons reached out to researchers via the Publons database of over 400,000 reviewers, and 1 million authors indexed in Web of Science. Of the more than 11,000 researchers who completed the survey, 69% were working at a university or college, 69% were men, and over 35% had 15 years or more experience writing and reviewing scholarly articles. The majority of reviewers came from Europe (37% — including the UK) and 13% worked in the areas of Clinical Medicine or Engineering respectively.*

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Opening up peer review – Science (Editorial – August 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on September 17, 2018

A transparent process to publish referees’ reports could benefit science, but not all researchers want their assessments made available.

When Nature asks experts to review manuscripts for possible publication, we promise that the reports they send back will be kept confidential. But should we? This week we publish a Comment article that comes with a provocative challenge: more journal editors should commit to publishing peer-review reports. Doing so, the authors argue, benefits science. It puts published work in useful context and helps junior scientists to understand how review works.

Nature and the Nature research journals have long welcomed suggestions to make peer review work better for the communities we serve. In 2016, Nature Communications started to publish referee reports — with names removed — as long as the authors of the papers agreed.

The reaction has been instructive. For one, it demonstrated that authors in specific fields of the life sciences are more likely to welcome such openness. Take-up from those in other disciplines, including many in the physical sciences, has been much slower. In fact, Nature Communications lost several reliable reviewers in chemistry when the referees were told their unsigned reviews would be made public if the author opted for it. They resented not having a say in the process, and felt that their reports would have little value outside the small intended audience.

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Gender and Regional Diversity In Peer Review – The Wiley Network (Lou Peck | September 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on September 17, 2018

In keeping with the theme of Diversity in Peer Review, for this year’s Peer Review Week we’re taking a closer look at two recent studies on the topic. These articles are freely available

What influences the regional diversity of reviewers: A study of medical and agricultural/biological sciences journals

This 2018 Learned Publishing article discusses the geographical imbalance of reviewers discovered during research in medicine and agricultural and biological sciences. They found that:

  • there was a correlation between the reviewer location and the country and region of the EditorChief and that of the corresponding author.
  • reviewers were more likely to accept invitations to review articles when the corresponding author was from their region and were more likely to be positive about such articles.

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Ask The Chefs: How Would You Ensure Diversity In Peer Review? – Scholarly Kitchen (Ann Michael | September 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on September 12, 2018

Next week is Peer Review Week 2018. Asking the Chefs a peer review question has become a bit of a tradition for us. In 2016 we asked: What is the future of peer review? Last year we contemplated: Should peer review change?

This year the theme is diversity in peer review. So we’ve asked the Chefs: How would you ensure diversity in peer review?

Lisa Hinchliffe: Given I have served as a journal editor multiple times in my career, allow me to respond to this question from that perspective. First, you must have a commitment to diversity in peer review as a non-negotiable facet of your process and investing the time and effort needed in order achieve your goal of diversity. Second, you must do the work to identify a diverse reviewer corps and solicit the commitment of reviewers who you wish to be part of your team. Third, you must ensure that the experience of serving as a peer reviewer is a positive experience. You may need to do additional outreach and offer additional support to overcome the impact of reviewers’ past negative experiences as a peer reviewer. Fourth, you must check your own biases and privileges when you review the assessments submitted by the peer reviewers and not discount the feedback and evaluations submitted from the diversity of perspectives you have recruited. Fifth, you must ensure that peer reviewers receive recognition for their labor in ways that are valued in the performance review (tenure/promotion) schemes under which they are evaluated. No one owes their diversity to our peer review processes but many are willing. It is our responsibility as editors to invite, recognize, and reward them.

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