Not all young researchers are lucky enough to immediately start working in a strong academic community with excellent researcher traditions. Young scientists, especially from developing countries, often first have to learn to avoid many obstacles, such as predatory journals or “zombie science,” in order to finally touch the high-quality peer review. This initiative tears away this veil of mystery from peer review, and therefore I believe that it will enable many researchers to improve their academic writing and peer review skills, regardless of where they start their research career.
Peer reviewing is foundational science work, and very hard work. Why keep it behind the scenes? Opening it up is such a huge service to science, scientists, and the world.
As we continue to make science more open, exposing the process of iteratively improving manuscripts through peer review is more important than ever. Writing constructive peer reviews takes time and effort – and should also be recognized as a scholarly output. Increasing transparency in peer review is timely and exciting
The scientific literature is expanding rapidly. A sustainable, scalable ecosystem involves a broader range of scientists in making research more rigorous and this is best done in ways that minimize wasted effort. At Arcadia Science, to make our contributions to review maximally reusable by authors and useful to readers, we ask our scientists to comment publicly on preprints.
As a community of scholars, we each take responsibility to provide critical but fair comment on manuscripts submitted for publication in the journals that represent our research disciplines. We do so on a voluntary basis which for some represents a significant investment of time and effort. I have long felt that this effort should be recognized in a formal way as a valued contribution to the literature with a measure equivalent to that of a published citation. The “Publish your Reviews” initiative offers just such a measure of credit. Most publishers and many authors have embraced pre-print posting on an archive. Similarly, the transparency of the review process will be enhanced by wide adoption of published reviews.
I’m keen to see more transparency around peer review, particularly around who is allowed to participate and how research observations are converted into scholarly communications. Sharing our reviews on works in progress allows greater accountability about the process, and allows others to share the insights that scientists share with each other in the process of developing knowledge.
I believe the confrontation of ideas is the most important aspect of scientific research. Hiding evaluations and actors behind secretive journal processes kills the free exchange and foster a climate where exchange of expertise becomes conflicting to the advance of ECR careers. I believe that we should start seeing our reviews as a service to our colleagues instead of a gatekeeping mechanism for journals. By sharing my reviews of preprints, I expect to switch the balance from gatekeeper of a manuscript to a colleague interested in discussing and hopefully help to improve their science.
Early career researchers are naturally early adopters of revolutions in the academic culture. Yet, we often don’t have the structure (funds, material, leadership, training) to actually practice what we think is good for science, such as reproducibility, pre-registration or open peer review. I signed the Publish Your Reviews pledge because I am an adopter of preprints and preprint reviews myself, and I think we need to encourage preprint reviews more than ever, as we see a rise in publication and use of preprints. I want to be a piece of the infrastructure that benefits the next generation of ECRs, so they feel like they are contributing to a bigger movement when reviewing preprints.
We should publicly acknowledge the effort a researcher spends in reviewing and enable the reviewer to take public responsibility for the content of the review he/she writes to help the authors to improve their work. Research should be, indeed, an open and public dialogue and should not be constrained by established practices that go against Open Science principles. I think this initiative is one of the first attempts providing an international and inclusive forum to work towards a more transparent reviewing process.
I chose to sign the pledge because reviews are part of the scientific process and should be freely available. Publish Your Reviews will both benefit readers by providing discussion around the findings and research context, and authors by promoting focused, appropriate, specific and transparent principles.
Open publication of peer reviews supports adhering to important principles of good research such as openness and respect, improves giving due credit to peer reviewers for their contributions and encourages responsible review practices. By supporting the Publish Your Reviews pledge, early career researchers promote an ethical and transparent approach to peer reviews, and contribute to further improvement of this vital practice.