17. Peer Review by Endorsement

This is adapted from our recent paper in F1000 Research, entitled “A multi-disciplinary perspective on emergent and future innovations in peer review.” Due to its rather monstrous length, I’ll be posting chunks of the text here in sequence over the next few weeks to help disseminate it in more easily digestible bites. Enjoy!

This section describes some of the ways which peer review has been decoupled from traditional journals, including via preprints and overlay journals. Previous sections:

  1. An Introduction.
  2. An Early History
  3. The Modern Revolution
  4. Recent Studies
  5. Modern Role and Purpose
  6. Criticisms of the Conventional System
  7. Modern Trends and Traits
  8. Development of Open Peer Review
  9. Giving Credit to Referees
  10. Publishing Review Reports
  11. Anonymity Versus Identification
  12. Anonymity Versus Identification (II)
  13. Anonymity Versus Identification (III)
  14. Decoupling Peer Review from Publishing
  15. Preprints and Overlay Journals
  16. Two-stage peer review and Registered Reports

A relatively new mode of named pre-publication review is that of pre-arranged and invited review, originally proposed as author-guided peer review (Perakakis et al., 2010), but now often called Peer Review by Endorsement (PRE). This has been implemented at RIO, and is functionally similar to the Contributed Submissions of PNAS (pnas.org/site/authors/editorialpolicies.xhtml#contributed). This model requires an author to solicit reviews from their peers prior to submission in order to assess the suitability of a manuscript for publication. While some might see this as a potential bias, it is worth bearing in mind that many journals already ask authors who they want to review their papers, or who they should exclude. To avoid potential pre-submission bias, reviewer identities and their endorsements are made publicly available alongside manuscripts, which also removes any possible deleterious editorial criteria from inhibiting the publication of research. Also, PRE has been suggested by Jan Velterop to be much cheaper, legitimate, unbiased, faster, and more efficient alternative to the traditional publisher-mediated method (theparachute.blogspot.de/2015/08/peer-review-by-endorsement.html. In theory, depending on the state of the manuscript, this means that submissions can be published much more rapidly, as less processing is required post-submission (e.g., in trying to find suitable reviewers). PRE also has the potential advantage of being more useful to non-native English speaking authors by allowing them to work with editors and reviewers in their first languages. However, possible drawbacks of this process include positive bias imposed by having author-recommended reviewers, as well as the potential for abuse through suggesting fake reviewers. As such, such a system highlights the crucial role of an Editor for verification and mediation.

Tennant JP, Dugan JM, Graziotin D et al. A multi-disciplinary perspective on emergent and future innovations in peer review [version 3; referees: 2 approved]F1000Research 2017, 6:1151 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.12037.3)

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