Peer review meeting summary

On February 7-9, 2018, a group of approximately 90 junior and senior scientists, publishers, editors, and funders convened at HHMI Headquarters in Chevy Chase, MD for a meeting on Transparency, Recognition, and Innovation in Peer Review in the Life Sciences, organized by Wellcome, ASAPbio, and HHMI. The plenary sessions of the agenda were webcast, and all videos can be viewed in the webcast archive. Slides from talks can be downloaded from the agenda.

In the weeks leading up to the meeting, two surveys captured attitudes toward our current peer review system, and community members wrote commentaries to discuss visions for its evolution.

The event itself kicked off on the evening of Feburary 7th with keynotes from Erin O’Shea (President of HHMI), Jeremy Berg (Editor-in-Chief of Science) and Mike Lauer (Deputy Director for Extramural Research at NIH). After a morning of discussion, participants (both in-person and virtual) took part in an a vote on statements related to transparency and recognition to gauge the development of consensus. The results suggested that the majority of participants favored:

  1. Publishing the content of peer reviews (with or without the reviewers’ names) and making these reports a formal part of the scholarly record with an associated DOI,
  2. Formal recognition and credit for peer review activities from funding agencies and institutions, and
  3. Acknowledging all contributors to a peer review report (such as students and postdocs) when submitting it to a journal.

We will be organizing a white paper authorized by meeting participants and considering other steps to facilitate the actions above.

Media coverage

The meeting was covered in Science, Occam’s Typewriter, and PLOS Blogs. Highlights from Twitter (#bioPeerReview) have been compiled by HHMI, below.