Skip to content

[ Industry trends ] September 21, 2022

How open peer review can help us harness the power of early-stage research

Many publications are beginning to embrace open peer review (OPR) as a more effective means of validating scholarly content and promoting integrity in research. But taking this concept a step further and introducing early-stage research to OPR models promises to accelerate breakthroughs like never before.

What does open peer review look like?

When peer review meets open science, feedback that typically hides behind closed doors becomes accessible and part of the permanent academic record. Depending on the OPR model, a reviewer’s feedback and or identity may be made visible to either an article’s authors, the public, or both. This means that a reviewer's comments or full name can be published alongside the final paper or shared directly with the authors.  There is also a prevalence of journal-independent OPR, with open platforms like PLOS One offering an opportunity for scientists to interact and discuss their papers or preprints before publication.

 

What are the benefits?

Peer review is a cornerstone of scholarly communication, yet it too often goes unrecognized in favor of the final published journal article. It seems that lifting the veil that covers this process can increase the rigor, reproducibility, and integrity of scientific research far more than the traditional blind models. But how?

 

Transparency

When we open up the peer review process, we bring an increased level of transparency to scholarly communications, resulting in more reliable and high-quality research.

Despite how intensive peer review can be for evaluators, the anonymity of the traditional model also means that recognition is not given to reviewers despite their integral role in validating scholarly information. Increasing transparency in peer review can boost the reputation of scientists who work tirelessly to make sure that only honest and impactful research gets published.

 

Accountability

Sharing details of how scientific information is evaluated through peer review creates widespread awareness of the standards that research is and should be held to, which is extremely useful for scientists who are in the process of conducting studies or summarizing their findings. When reviewers’ names are published through the open identities model, it also increases accountability in peer review, which helps to remove the bias and error-prone nature of the traditional model.  If reviewers are made to sign their comments and are thus made aware that their reviews may be seen by a wide audience, they may put more thought, effort, and care into their critiques. Better and more constructive reviews pave the way for better science.

 

Speed

Open peer review also stands to bring speed to a long and cumbersome process. Through the community that open platforms provide, more people can weigh in on the quality of scientific content, reducing the individual time spent evaluating research. Science waits for no one, and due to the slowness of the traditional peer review model, results can lose their relevance by the time they are published. Giving breakthroughs, faster publication times, and greater visibility through OPR platforms can accelerate scholarly communication and quicken the pace of revolutionary discoveries.

 

How can introducing early-stage research to OPR transform science?

OPR models prove that if we open up previously hidden scientific processes and work together, we can reach new levels of creativity and innovation. 

But imagine if there was a way to foster the kind of collaboration, efficiency, and transparency that OPR creates with early-stage research? A way to open peer review from the very beginning, before preprints and journal submission?

When early-stage research is introduced to OPR models, scientists can showcase their early ideas and share them with a global community for feedback that can help them build on their discoveries. This creates new ideas, greater visibility, and more impactful breakthroughs.

What’s more, when the traditional blinded and individual peer review process opens up to a pool of reviewers, we have the strength of a whole community to ensure that rigorous research standards are upheld. This means fraudulent or inconsistent findings can be detected more easily and earlier on in the research lifecycle. This community-driven power can also lead to opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration or lasting connections with other scientists within an author’s field.

 

Conclusion

While OPR models are not full proof, opening the research lifecycle up to a wider global community makes science more transparent, reliable, and trustworthy.

Protecting and promoting scientific integrity is crucial to our mission at Morressier. That’s why we’ve created rigorous peer review workflows and integrity checks that detect errors and fraud in research faster and more efficiently than traditional models.

To learn more about our innovative approaches to peer review and the ways we’re supporting research integrity, download our latest ebook.