In the Spring of 2020, The STM Association released a draft of taxonomy for peer review aimed at standardizing definitions and terminology. The draft was an output of an ongoing working group led by Joris van Rossum. Back in October, The Scholarly Kitchen ran a guest post from Micah Altman and Philip Cohen, who commented on the draft and articulated why they thought a shared taxonomy is important. In their view, a shared taxonomy is necessary to build an evidence base for strategic investments and policy decisions, as well as to improve journal transparency and evaluation processes. Altman and Cohen go on to express concerns about what they see as the limited scope of the taxonomy and a lack of measurement of certain aspects of the peer-review process.
A robust shared taxonomy of peer review can make it easier for researchers and readers to judge a title and the papers it publishes.
Before we get to the main interview, though I first want to give a little more context. A while back, I wrote a post about Hindawi’s decision to part company with STM where I discussed STM’s position as a neutral platform rather than an agent for change. More recently, however, STM have taken a more active role in developing research infrastructure, a good example being the Research Data Year, which I reported on previously. I started by asking Joris about whether the taxonomy was part of a broader shift in STM’s approach and attitude to modernization.