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ResourcesResearch IntegrityThere is little evidence to suggest peer reviewer training programmes improve the quality of reviews – LSE Blog (Shaun Khoo | May 2018)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

There is little evidence to suggest peer reviewer training programmes improve the quality of reviews – LSE Blog (Shaun Khoo | May 2018)

Published/Released on May 23, 2018 | Posted by Admin on September 28, 2018 / , , , ,
 


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In little more than a year a number of peer reviewer training programmes have launched, promising to help early-career researchers learn how to do peer review, review more efficiently, and connect with editors at top journals. This follows an expressed need from graduate students and postdocs for precisely this sort of training. But can these new programmes deliver? And as many providers suggest moves towards a subscription-based model, are they worth individuals or institutions paying for them? Shaun Khoo examines the evidence base and finds that there is little to suggest that peer reviewer training programmes actually improve the quality of article reviews.

Peer reviewer training for graduate students and postdocs is pretty trendy right now. As the number of submissions to academic journals grows, publishers are interested in expanding their reviewer pools. Over the last year we have seen the launch of the Publons Academy, ACS Reviewer Lab, Nature Masterclasses’ Focus on Peer Review, and JNeurosci’s Reviewer Mentoring Program. These training programmes promise to help researchers learn how to do peer review, review more efficiently, and connect with editors at top journals. They also fill a gap in researcher training, as over 90% of early-career researchers express interest in peer review training but few receive any formal training during their PhDs. But can these new training programmes deliver? And if training providers were to make their programmes subscription-based, would it be worth the investment?

What are the training programmes like?

Each training course has its own distinct and useful features. In general, programmes like the ACS Reviewer Lab, Publons Academy, and Nature Masterclass feature text and short video segments on how to do peer review, what to focus on, what not to focus on, and ethical dilemmas. They sometimes also feature online formative assessments, like answering multiple choice questions at the end of the unit.

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