Open Peer Review

As part of Open Access week, Rebecca Lawrence (Faculty of 1000) gave the first SURF Seminar talk of this academic year.

Rebecca launched F1000 Posters (an open access repository for conference posters from the world of Bioscience & Medicine). More recently, she has set up F1000 Research, an open access journal but with some interesting and innovative developments in terms of open peer review, and open access to research data.

Under the F1000 Research model, authors can submit articles and have them published online before going through the peer review process.  In-house checks are done to ensure basic standards are met before the article is uploaded, but the actual peer-review is done in the open and online.  The reviews, themselves, can be read and cited. (Each is given a doi .)  Readers can see where reviewers may have regarded the same paper in quite different ways.   Is this to be an important development in the future of scholarly publishing? Already, BMC Medicine  and BMJ Open are insisting upon open peer review, with the reports being published along with the name and affiliation of the reviewers.   

Faculty 1000 goes even further by publishing articles before the peer review process.  The reviewers’ reports then follow and are published online. Reviewers must say whether the work is in their opinion “Approved” or  “Approved with minor reservations” or  “Not Approved”. Once an article has 2 “Approved” or 1 “Approved “ and 2 “Approved with minor reservations”, it will be indexed in Scopus, PubMed, Embase, Cross-Ref and Google Scholar.

What are the arguments in favour of this system?

  • Speed – The traditional peer review process is cumbersome and slow. This way researchers can get their work out fast and avoid being scooped. F1000 Research claim an article can appear online within a week.
  • Recognition of the work of reviewers. Because the reviews are open and will have a doi, they can be read and cited.
  • Preventing or exposing bias in the review process.

These are just a few brief points from Rebecca’s talk. If you are interested in the idea of Open Peer Review, then you may also want to look at:

Peer J

Nature’s peer review debate

You might also be interested in the Guardian’s live chat this Friday (25 Oct between 12-2pm BST): The future of open access research and publishing

Open Access Week Events at Swansea University

 OA International Open Access Week  (21st to 27the October) will soon be upon us and is a chance to catch up with the latest developments and to reflect on how far things have come and where the OA movement is taking us next. Swansea University staff can take advantage of two talks being held during this week to find out more about it:

Monday 21 October (12 to 2pm) SURF Room, Fulton House.   Open Access: From Biomed Central to F1000 Research. Rebecca Lawrence (Faculty of 1000)  will talk about the developments in OA publishing from the early days of BioMed Central to the success of PLOS and the most recent developments of open peer review, open data, and F1000Research.  

Swansea researchers will find this a fascinating insight into the world of Open Access publishing and will have a chance to consider the latest developments and how they might benefit or impact upon their research in terms of  publishing, impact and profile.

To book email:   Buffet lunch will be provided.

Wednesday 23 October (12 to 1pm) APECS, Training Room A, Grove. Open Access: Green? Gold? Confused? Caroline Rauter and Michele Davies(ISS) will be talking about the changing landscape and the impact of research openness beyond academia. They will also be explaining the role of ISS in supporting researchers using the Gold OA route. 

To book email:

Willetts asks Jimmy Wales to advise on development of UK “Gateway to Research” portal.

David Willetts, in a speech to the Publishers’ Association yesterday, set out the Coalition’s commitment to free Open Access to publicly funded UK research outputs. He acknowledged the role of publishers in scholarly communication and said that he wanted to work with them. Not only is there a need for public access to publicly funded research, he said, but there is also a need to make it more discoverable and to assist “networking between researchers and SMEs”.  To this end, he said,  Research Councils in the UK   “are now investing £2 million in the development of a UK  ‘Gateway to Research’ portal.  Jimmy Wales has been asked to advise on the creation of this portal, which it is intended “will enable users to establish who has received funding and for what research [and] provide direct links to actual research outputs such as data sets and publications”.

Read Willetts’ article in the Guardian

Bibliometrics and peer review – the Italian view

A very interesting new article has just been published by researchers in Italy, who have analysed data from the first Italian national research evaluation to see whether there is a correlation between bibliometric indicators and peer review.

The questions they posed were:

  1. Are peer review judgements and (article and journal) bibliometric indicators independent variables?
  2. What is the strength of the association?
  3. Is the association between peer judgement and article citation rating significantly stronger than the association between peer judgement and journal citation rating?

They found “a compelling body of evidence that judgements given by domain experts and bibliometric indicators are significantly positively correlated” and in their conclusions, they suggest:

Bibliometrics are not independent of peer review assessment. right triangle, filled The correlation between peer assessment and bibliometric indicators is significant but not perfect. right triangle, filled Peer review should be integrated with bibliometric indicators in national assessment exercises.

Franceschet, M & Constantini, A (2010) “The first Italian research assessment exercise: A bibliometric perspective“, Journal of Informetrics, in press, corrected proof Science Direct [Online].