Reviewers are providing more constructive feedback in a time of crisis, but how long will it last?
In March 2020, several journal publishers introduced fast-tracked peer review for papers related to COVID-19, cutting the time from submission to publication in half.
There are many elements of the pandemic that we hope that we can soon leave behind us, but not all of the impacts have been deleterious. One positive has been the change in peer review, but will this endure?
A new study has found that reviewers of COVID-19 papers provided more constructive feedback, such as suggestions to tone down conclusions rather than go back to the lab to do more time-consuming experiments.
“Reviewers are being more constructive and cooperative, which isn’t something that journals are demanding from them,” says lead author Serge Horbach, who studies peer review and research integrity at Aarhus University in Denmark. “It’s their individual attitudes that are changing.”