Scholarly communication is in a perpetual state of disruption. Within this, peer review of research articles remains an essential part of the formal publication process, distinguishing it from virtually all other modes of communication. In the last several years, there has been an explosive wave of innovation in peer review research, platforms, discussions, tools, and services. This is largely coupled with the ongoing and parallel evolution of scholarly communication as it adapts to rapidly changing environments, within what is widely considered as the ‘open research’ or ‘open science’ movement. Here, we summarise the current ebb and flow around changes to peer review and consider its role in a modern digital research and communications infrastructure and suggest why uptake of new models of peer review appears to have been so low compared to what is often viewed as the ‘traditional’ method of peer review. Finally, we offer some insight into the potential futures of scholarly peer review and consider what impacts this might have on the broader scholarly research ecosystem. In particular, we focus on the key traits of certification and reputation, moderation and quality control, and engagement incentives, and discuss how these interact with socio-technical aspects of peer review and academic culture.