Free resources to gain a valuable understanding in Peer-Review processes

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Peer Review can be seen as a process matrix of a sequence of  activities with rules to progressively assess and predict  the quality of published research... 

The Review by peers is a tried and tested method for the evaluation of new findings before publication … it places great demands on reviewers whose Assessments must be Honest, Fair, Safe and Independent.

This blog entry presents some free resources that might be useful to train reviewers on how to do their jobs well.

Traditional Peer Review versus Open Peer Review

What exactly is the process of Peer Review? This comes from SENSE ABOUT SCIENCE guide for researchers.

Traditionally, the peer review process has been closed and reviewers – and their reports – have remained anonymous and locked away, even long after review. While this is still preferred in many cases, some pioneering journals are taking part in our trial to publish peer review reports as articles, next to the research they review’ (Elsevier).

With open peer review referee reports are made publicly available after the peer review process: each published article includes all peer review reports, reviewer names, and author responses – even for articles that are still under review or revision. Ultimately, open review process which decides whether research is suitable or ready for publication.

‘Although open peer review is becoming more common, and addresses several of the issues of anonymous review, a few challenges still remain. A study in the early days of open review suggested that naming referees slightly reduced the likelihood of finding reviewers but did not affect the quality of review. Conversely, other studies suggest that open review provides more constructive reports(F1000Research).

Some hands-on training resources for reviewers : 

ACS Reviewer Lab -- Sign up for Free

is a free, 4-hour online course developed to educate researchers on the principles of quality peer-review. The course features interactive modules covering the basics of peer review and ethics, as well as real-life guidance on how to write a first-rate review. ACS Reviewer Lab welcomesyour feedback on all aspects of the course as it continues to evolve.

1. INTRODUCTION TO PEER REVIEW

What is peer review? Learn the basics of peer review and the critical role it plays in scientific publication.

2. ETHICS IN PEER REVIEW

Learn how to deal with difficult ethical issues, potential conflicts of interest, and personal biases in the peer review process.

3. PREPARING FOR REVIEW

Every journal is unique, and the scientific literature is constantly evolving. Preparation before evaluating a manuscript will result in a more thorough review.

4. ASSESSING SIGNIFICANCE AND TECHNICAL QUALITY

Evaluating scientific soundness and potential impact is a key function of the reviewer. Learn how to effectively gauge impact and rate technical quality.

5. ASSESSING PRESENTATION AND READINESS FOR PUBLICATION

Presentation is key. Use these tools to evaluate manuscript presentation and identify potential issues related to safety and data.

6. WRITING YOUR REVIEW

What makes a good review? Learn how to write a quality review and convey your ideas with clarity.

The PUBLONS Academy  -- SIGN UP FOR FREE

The establishment of the Publons Academy is a key step in helping to ensure reviewers have access to rigorous training for this task of truth-seeking.", -  Sir Brian Heap CBE ScD FRS, St Edmund's College, Cambridge

The Publons Academy is a practical peer review training course (with 10 Modules) for early career researchers developed together with expert academics and editors to teach you the core competencies and skills needed of a peer reviewer.

Graduates of the Publons Academy will:
 
  • Break into the world of expert peer reviewers
  • Overcome fears about performing their first pre-publication reviews
  • Fully understand how the peer review process works
  • Have reviewed published papers in their area of expertise
  • Be endorsed by their supervisor
  • Connect with editors at relevant journals
 
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