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    “Publishing is not just about technology, it is foremost about the academic communities it supports.” The evolution of the megajournal as PeerJ turns five

“Publishing is not just about technology, it is foremost about the academic communities it supports.” The evolution of the megajournal as PeerJ turns five

As the “megajournal” has become more familiar as a concept, the term itself has come to feel more nebulous and limiting. Digital technology has enabled a shift both in the scope of published research and also in who can access it. But publishing is not just about the technology, it is foremost about the academic communities it supports. Jason […]

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    Why has no other European country adopted the Research Excellence Framework?

Why has no other European country adopted the Research Excellence Framework?

Most European countries have followed the UK’s lead in developing performance-based research funding systems (PRFS) for their universities. However, what these countries have not done is adopt the same system, the Research Excellence Framework being its most recent iteration. Instead, many use indicators of institutional performance for funding decisions rather than panel evaluation and peer review. Gunnar Sivertsen has […]

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2017 in review: top posts of the year

As 2017 nears its end and before our focus is drawn to whatever the new year might have in store, now is the perfect time to look back and reflect on the last twelve months on the Impact Blog. Editor Kieran Booluck reports on another year in which our readership has grown, and also shares a selection of the […]

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2017 in review: round-up of our top posts on peer review

What are the barriers to post-publication peer review?
Post-publication peer review emerged in response to increased calls for continuous moderation of the published research literature, consistent questioning of the functionality of the traditional peer review model, and a recognition that scientific discourse does not stop at the point of publication. However, uptake remains low overall. Jon Tennant sets out what the barriers […]

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    The next stage of SocArXiv’s development: bringing greater transparency and efficiency to the peer review process

The next stage of SocArXiv’s development: bringing greater transparency and efficiency to the peer review process

Almost 1,500 papers have been uploaded to SocArXiv since its launch last year. Up to now the platform has operated alongside the peer-review journal system rather than seriously disrupting it. Looking ahead to the next stage of its development, Philip Cohen considers how SocArXiv might challenge the peer review system to be more efficient and transparent, firstly by confronting […]

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    Peer review processes risk stifling creativity and limiting opportunities for game-changing scientific discoveries

Peer review processes risk stifling creativity and limiting opportunities for game-changing scientific discoveries

Today, academics must prepare written proposals describing the research they wish to conduct and submit them to funding agencies for evaluation – a process known as peer review. According to Don Braben and Rod Dowler, the current peer review process actually serves as a blocker to more radical research, stifling creativity and limiting opportunities for game-changing discoveries. Obviously peer review should not be abandoned entirely, but […]

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    Amidst criticism of the peer review process, the valuable contributions of reviewers should be defended

Amidst criticism of the peer review process, the valuable contributions of reviewers should be defended

As flaws in the peer review process are highlighted and calls for reform become more frequent, it may be tempting for some to denigrate and dismiss the contributions of the reviewers themselves. Maxine David has been witness to this and here makes an appeal to give space to recognise those who offer their time and expertise voluntarily and generously.

It […]

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    What are researchers’ expectations and experiences of the peer review process? Findings from recent research

What are researchers’ expectations and experiences of the peer review process? Findings from recent research

What do researchers expect of the peer review process? And do their experiences deliver on these expectations? Elaine Devine reports on the findings of recent research that sought answers to these questions, to be used to inform improved training, support resources, and guidelines. Researchers felt strongly that peer review should, and mostly does, improve the quality of research articles; […]

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    Our current conceptualisation of peer review must be expanded if we’re to realise the greatest innovations

Our current conceptualisation of peer review must be expanded if we’re to realise the greatest innovations

All agree that peer review is an area of scholarly communications that is ripe for innovation. However, it may be that our current conceptualisation of peer review places limits on our progress and ambitions. Jon Treadway highlights four alternative tracks of development, including an increased recognition of the many diverse contributions to the research process, a renewed and widened […]

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    Open peer review: bringing transparency, accountability, and inclusivity to the peer review process

Open peer review: bringing transparency, accountability, and inclusivity to the peer review process

Open peer review is moving into the mainstream, but it is often poorly understood and surveys of researcher attitudes show important barriers to implementation. Tony Ross-Hellauer provides an overview of work conducted as part of an OpenAIRE2020 project to offer clarity on OPR, and issues an open call to publishers and researchers interested in OPR to come together to […]

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    Addressing ethical issues in peer review – new guidelines available from COPE

Addressing ethical issues in peer review – new guidelines available from COPE

Ethical issues related to the peer review process are increasingly complex and can be tricky to navigate and resolve. This Peer Review Week 2017, COPE (the Committee on Publication Ethics) released a revised, updated version of its guidelines for editors, reviewers, and would-be reviewers. These expanded resources include more information for early-career researchers, as well as addressing some of […]

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    We have the technology to save peer review – now it is up to our communities to implement it

We have the technology to save peer review – now it is up to our communities to implement it

Today marks the beginning of Peer Review Week 2017. Here on the Impact Blog, we’ll be featuring posts covering a variety of perspectives on and issues relating to peer review, and which also consider this year’s theme of “Transparency”. To kick things off, Jon Tennant, Daniel Graziotin and Sarah Kearns consider what can be done to address the various […]

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Seven functionalities the scholarly literature should have

Some of the most basic functionalities to be expected of a digital object continue to elude scholarly articles, making the literature much less useful than it could be. Björn Brembs has compiled a short list of seven such functionalities that academic publishers looking to modernise their operations might invest in; from unencumbered access and improved social components, to dynamic […]

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    Open Abstracts: a new peer review feature that helps scholars develop connections and encourages transdisciplinarity

Open Abstracts: a new peer review feature that helps scholars develop connections and encourages transdisciplinarity

The peer review process has been subjected to a steady stream of criticism in recent years. This has driven certain innovations, from revealing the content of the process post-publication, to crowdsourcing initiatives. Patrick Riechert and Frédéric Dubois introduce a new peer review feature that is currently being piloted on the journal, Internet Policy Review. Authors are invited to submit […]

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    Formal recognition for peer review will propel research forward

Formal recognition for peer review will propel research forward

Academic research has been beset by a number of disturbing problems in recent years; from the reproducibility crisis and long publication delays, right through to article retractions and admissions of researcher misconduct. This has led to increasing public and media scepticism as to the quality and integrity of research. Peer review remains the gold standard for ensuring that quality […]

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    Writing a peer review is a structured process that can be learned and improved – 12 steps to follow

Writing a peer review is a structured process that can be learned and improved – 12 steps to follow

Peer review not only helps to maintain the quality and integrity of scientific literature but is also key to a researcher’s development. As well as offering opportunities to keep abreast of current research and hone critical analysis skills, writing a peer review can teach you how to spot common flaws in research papers and improve your own chances of […]

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    Artificial intelligence can expedite scientific communication and eradicate bias from the publishing process

Artificial intelligence can expedite scientific communication and eradicate bias from the publishing process

Scientific publishing already uses some early artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to address certain issues with the peer review process, such as identifying new reviewers or fighting plagiarism. As part of a BioMed Central/Digital Science report on the future of peer review, Chadwick C. DeVoss outlines what other innovations AI might facilitate. Software with the capability to complete subject-oriented reviews […]

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What are the barriers to post-publication peer review?

Post-publication peer review emerged in response to increased calls for continuous moderation of the published research literature, consistent questioning of the functionality of the traditional peer review model, and a recognition that scientific discourse does not stop at the point of publication. However, uptake remains low overall. Jon Tennant sets out what the barriers to more widespread adoption of […]

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    Manipulating the peer review process: why it happens and how it might be prevented

Manipulating the peer review process: why it happens and how it might be prevented

Peer review continues to be upheld as the best way to evaluate academic research ahead of publication. Yet the peer review process has been consistently targeted and manipulated by authors, reviewers and even editors. Sneha Kulkarni reveals how this is happening and what might be done to prevent it, considering the merits of different peer review models but also […]

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Why are interdisciplinary research proposals less likely to be funded? Lack of adequate peer review may be a factor.

Recent findings suggest interdisciplinary research is less likely to be funded than discipline-based research proposals. Gabriele Bammer looks at how interdisciplinary research is currently peer reviewed and argues different review processes may well be required to do justice to these different kinds of interdisciplinarity. Discipline-based researchers may be ill-equipped to evaluate the integrative processes that an interdisciplinary proposal plans to […]

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