This week is Peer Review Week, a new initiative put together by interested parties at ORCID, ScienceOpen, Sense About Science, and Wiley. While only in its inaugural run, it’s already generating some nice discussion and shared resources. We’re delighted to add our voices to the mix throughout the week.
Peer review can be a touchy subject, with some believing that pre-publication peer review is antiquated and a barrier to the advancement of research. For most, however, peer review is held as a critical step that improves papers and keeps unpublishable work from the scholarly record. Either way, it’s clear that peer review is the central focus of scholarly communication. Researchers know that successfully navigating peer review is critical for their careers.
Beyond its importance for researchers and publishers, peer review is also central to the work we do here at Research Square.
The most obvious connection for Research Square would be Rubriq, our service that provides independent, pre-publication peer review. Rubriq is designed to give authors rigorous feedback on their paper from carefully matched active researchers in their field. While Rubriq offers some twists on the typical peer review process (including a standardized report, a two-week turnaround, and paying reviewers an honorarium), it can still be plugged into existing journals to serve as their pre-publication review process.
Research Square also offers manuscript services through the American Journal Experts brand. While language editing, translation, and figure preparation don’t include peer review itself, they are still designed with the peer review process in mind. The first readers of a paper (outside of its authors) are reviewers and journal editors. It’s critical that the results of a paper are clearly articulated so the manuscript can be properly evaluated, and that’s exactly the goal of our editing and figures services.
The latest product from Research Square is our Video Abstracts, which are short, multimedia summaries of the key results from a published paper. Even though these videos are created after acceptance, they have the same goal — ensuring that the audience can understand and appreciate the importance of the paper’s findings. This goes hand-in-hand with the concept of post-publication peer review, whereby a paper is evaluated after publication. Some of this is informal, some more structured, and some occurs when a grant is up for renewal or even when the government decides how to set funding levels. In all cases, a clear Video Abstract can help.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Peer Review Week, be sure to keep your eyes on the Twitter hashtag #peerrevwk15 or sign up for the webinar later this week about transparency in peer review. We’d also love to hear your thoughts. Have you had good review experiences? How can all of us — publishers, academics, and anyone interested in scholarly communication — improve the peer review process?