How Peer Review Week Evolved

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With the second day of the Peer Review Week setting in, the academic community seems to be all set with their list of activities. We, too, have a plethora of exciting events lined up for you keeping this year’s theme in mind. To begin with our celebrations, we published a podcast “Challenges in Maintaining the Quality of Peer Review.” Tune in to get insights on the difficulties faced by peer reviewers in academia. But before we start off with this year’s celebrations, let us go five years back and find out how Peer Review Week came into being.

History of Peer Review Week

The first Peer Review Week came into existence by chance.It was merely an outcome of a collaborated effort of ORCID, Sense About Science, Wiley and ScienceOpen. Peer Review Week 2015 began on September 28th and ended on October 2nd. Since it marked the beginning, there was no specific theme involved in the celebrations. The event majorly included conversations on Twitter, generating over 1,500 tweets on the hashtag. The various organizations that formed part of the academic community published a series of blogs, concerning different elements of peer reviewing. Besides these,webinars were conducted that included highlights of trust and transparency in peer review.

Memories from Peer Review Weeks Held Before

As we go ahead in the 5th Peer Review Week, let us refresh our memories of the Peer Review Week celebrations of the last four years.

In 2016, however, PRW (September 15th -22nd) had the theme “Recognition for Review,” revolving around how to acknowledge and celebrate reviewing as crucial work. The theme also included building formal procedures for peer reviewers that gives them public, recognizable credit for their work. Accordingly, events were aligned, one of the major attractions being the Sentinels of Science Awards being held by the Publons blog. Other important events included webinars held by ScienceOpen and Council of Science Editors. While the former discussed the future of peer review, the latter focused on how publishers today are working with scholars and online platforms like ORCID to give credit for peer reviews. Besides the online events, there were in-person events (panel discussions) at Heathrow, London and Ottawa, Canada.

The theme for 2017 PRW (September 11th-17th) was “Transparency in Peer Review” and covered the infamous issue of peer review being biased in nature. Several studies suggest bias in peer review process, especially gender bias, leading a smaller reviewer pool. This data also indicated the need for even more transparency in the peer review process as well as for a larger reviewer pool. With this view in mind, ORCID along several other academic institutions hosted webinars, blog posts and several other events. Another major attraction this year was a live-streaming panel discussion session arranged by Scholarly Kitchen between four peer review experts. These experts were, namely, Irene Hames (independent peer review and publication ethics expert), Elizabeth Moylan (then at BioMed Central), Andrew Preston (Publons), and Carly Strasser (then at the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation). 

In 2018, the theme for PRW (September 10th-14th), “Diversity in Peer Review”, aimed to highlight the wide range of issues and challenges of peer reviewing and to promote diversity and inclusion within the scientific community especially amongst peer reviewers. The events included webinars by major organizations and publishers of the academic community. These included Wiley, ORCID, Publons, CSE and many more. In fact, we, Enago Academy, also had hosted a webinar. Besides these, panel events included the ones organized by Springer Nature, ALPSP and Wellcome in collaboration with F100. Publons organized a live Twitter discussion on The Global State of Peer Review during this Peer Review Week.

This year too there are several activities lined up. As part of the ongoing PRW celebrations, we will be hosting a webinar on “How to Become a Peer Reviewer: Doing Your Share for the Research Community”, to provide you tips on how to become a peer reviewer.

Do check our schedule and the live updates and don’t miss out on the Peer Review Week celebrations!

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