Open Peer Review#

Cartoon-like sketch, in black and white with orange shading, of a three tiered cake with the title Open Peer Review at the top. On the bottom level of the cake is the word collaboration with different types of people standing on this level of the cake looking thoughtful. Each person has a speech bubble over them with an eye in it. There are more thoughtful people standing on the second tier and the third and top tier has three people holding a written document with the words supporting quality over them. At the side of the cake are the words recognition, on the left side, and content and process, on the right side.

Fig. 103 The Turing Way project illustration by Scriberia. Used under a CC-BY 4.0 licence. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3332807.#

What is Open Peer Review?#

Open Peer review can refer to various practises, including signing your review, publishing reviews along with the paper, and allowing for the community to contribute to the peer review process (Open Science Community Utrecht). Below some different types of Open Peer Review are highlighted, as well as the benefits of opening up the peer review process.

Different types of Open Peer Review#

There are various models of Open Peer review (see [RHDS17] for more details):

  • Open Content

  • Open Participation

    • Open review before publication through preprints

    • Post-publication commenting

  • Open Identities (author or reviewer)

    • Open discussion between authors, editors and reviewers

Similar to open science practices in general - open peer review is not an ‘all or nothing’ concept. Instead, the open components that make the most sense can be introduced first - or the platform that you’re using might not have opened up all of this yet.

One of the more debated parts of Open Peer Review is whether reviews should be signed [RHDS17] [BGLI+19]. Not everyone is comfortable signing their reviews - particularly people from minoritized groups in research [Fox21]. This could result in less critical reviews if revealing identity is a requirement of Peer Review [Fox21].

Benefits of Open Peer Review#

  • Including increasing accountability of reviewers, which should in turn increase the quality, fairness, constructiveness and courteousness of reviews

  • Transparency allows for validation of peer review and identifying biases, which may improve diversity/inclusion of the peer review process

  • Recognition for Peer Review (especially if it can become a Research Object that can be cited

  • Reviews can become reusable (as normally the authors of review retain copyright and if they are anonymous you cannot ask their permission)

  • Reviews can be used as teaching materials to improve the peer review process

  • Facilitates dialogue and collaboration between authors, reviewers and editors

The case against double-anonymous peer review#

Anonymity allows for abuse, which editors do not always moderate successfully.” - Dada Docot

The ability of double-anonymized review to address biases in peer review remains questionable and can minimise the consequences of these biases without addressing their causes [HRHW22].

Double-anonymous peer review may impede open science practices in several ways [HRHW22]:

  1. Preprinting

  2. Preprint peer review

  3. Review curation

  4. Micro-publications

Initiatives suppporting Open Peer Review#