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PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e26895. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026895. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

Cooperation between referees and authors increases peer review accuracy.

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Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.


Peer review is fundamentally a cooperative process between scientists in a community who agree to review each other's work in an unbiased fashion. Peer review is the foundation for decisions concerning publication in journals, awarding of grants, and academic promotion. Here we perform a laboratory study of open and closed peer review based on an online game. We show that when reviewer behavior was made public under open review, reviewers were rewarded for refereeing and formed significantly more cooperative interactions (13% increase in cooperation, Pā€Š=ā€Š0.018). We also show that referees and authors who participated in cooperative interactions had an 11% higher reviewing accuracy rate (Pā€Š=ā€Š0.016). Our results suggest that increasing cooperation in the peer review process can lead to a decreased risk of reviewing errors.

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