Peer review is a fundamental and irreplaceable part of scholarly communication. However, it is often a role and a process that is overlooked or taken for granted. To recognize the contribution of peer reviewers to scholarly publishing, in 2015, ORCID, Sense About Science, Wiley and ScienceOpen collaborated to organize the first Peer Review Week. Given the success of Peer Review Week 2015, this year’s event will be exploring other aspects related to peer review and recognizing peer reviewers for their contribution. With the 2nd Peer Review Week about to kick off on 19th September, the planned activities include events like webinars, videos, interviews, and using social media to share resources on peer review.
Why Peer Review Week?
This event emerged from the growing awareness amongst the scholarly publishing community of the enormous contribution made by peer reviews to every form of scientific communication. From reviewing journal articles, research proposals, grant applications, conference submissions, to job applications, peer review is absolutely core to the lives and careers of researchers as well as science in general. Also, with the changing dynamics of the industry, newer forms of peer review, such as open and transferable review, are being used by journals and publishers to meet the challenges of increased number of publications.
Peer review helps maintain the quality of scientific work that is published on a regular basis; It also ensures that research that has been published is reproducible and adheres to a certain standard. Researchers believe overwhelmingly that peer review is a system that works and that improves research.
However, peer review is not a perfect system and as a scholarly activity it has been criticized for the bias the traditional system has not been able to overcome. Indeed, amongst the research community, peer review has been strongly criticized as being “gleefully vicious” and “cruel.”
The first Peer Review Week was initiated to open up new debates about peer review and appreciate the importance of the process as well as consider new ways to hone and improve it.
What Happens in Peer Review Week?
In 2015, during Peer Review Week 2015, there were conversations on Twitter, generating over 1,500 tweets on the hashtag; webinars discussing trust and transparency in peer review were conducted; and a series of blogs were posted by various organizations concerning different elements of peer reviewing. The topics included posts on global peer review practices and the public perception of peer review.
The theme for Peer Review 2016 is Recognition for Review and will also see the inaugural Sentinels of Science Awards, hosted by the Publons blog. These awards will be given to the i) top 10% of reviewers for each discipline, ii) top 3 overall contributors to peer review, iii) top 3 peer review contributors from the top five reviewing countries (by number), iv) top 3 contributing editors (most manuscripts handled, by number), as well as v) top 3 recognition advocates (top 3 editors that have invited reviewers to add a review record to Publons).
Recognition for Review
The Sentinels of Science awards highlight the official theme of Peer Review Week 2016: Recognition of Review. A second hashtag (#RecognizeReview) will focus the discussion on ways in which reviewers can be formally and informally recognized for the work that they do, and all the events will discuss different aspects of recognition for reviewing activities.
Through Peer Review Week 2016, we hope to share the message that, especially in a scholarly landscape that is rapidly changing, peer reviewers deserve to be recognized and celebrated as much as authors.