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Version 3. F1000Res. 2017 Jul 20 [revised 2017 Nov 29];6:1151. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.12037.3. eCollection 2017.

A multi-disciplinary perspective on emergent and future innovations in peer review.

Author information

1
ScienceOpen, Berlin, Germany.
2
Imperial College London, London, UK.
3
Berkeley Institute for Data Science, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.
4
Institute of Software Technology, University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany.
5
Earth and Life Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.
6
Data Science Institute, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA.
7
School of Computing and Communications, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK.
8
University Library System, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
9
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, USA.
10
Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, UK.
11
Department of Biochemistry, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
12
VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology, Ghent, Belgium.
13
School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.
14
Engineering & Technology Department, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, WI, USA.
15
School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA.
16
State and University Library, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.
17
Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, USA.
18
Western University Libraries, London, ON, USA.
19
School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.
20
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.
21
Department of Computer Science, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.
22
National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.
23
Institute of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany.
24
Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, Lima, Peru.
25
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
26
Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.
27
Department of Computer Science, University College London, London, UK.
28
Department of Groundwater Engineering, Faculty of Earth Sciences and Technology, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Bandung, Indonesia.
29
Département de Sciences Biologiques, Institut de Recherche en Biologie Végétale, Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada.
30
School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.
31
OpenAIRE, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.
32
Department of Affective Disorders, Psychiatric Research Academy, Aarhus University Hospital, Risskov, Denmark.
33
Department of English and Centre for the Study of Scholarly Communications, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB, Canada.
34
Centre for Culture and Technology, Curtin University, Perth, Australia.
35
Department of Chemical Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
36
Integrated Gulf Biosystems, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
37
Saudi Human Genome Program, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
38
Independent Researcher, Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

Peer review of research articles is a core part of our scholarly communication system. In spite of its importance, the status and purpose of peer review is often contested. What is its role in our modern digital research and communications infrastructure? Does it perform to the high standards with which it is generally regarded? Studies of peer review have shown that it is prone to bias and abuse in numerous dimensions, frequently unreliable, and can fail to detect even fraudulent research. With the advent of web technologies, we are now witnessing a phase of innovation and experimentation in our approaches to peer review. These developments prompted us to examine emerging models of peer review from a range of disciplines and venues, and to ask how they might address some of the issues with our current systems of peer review. We examine the functionality of a range of social Web platforms, and compare these with the traits underlying a viable peer review system: quality control, quantified performance metrics as engagement incentives, and certification and reputation. Ideally, any new systems will demonstrate that they out-perform and reduce the biases of existing models as much as possible. We conclude that there is considerable scope for new peer review initiatives to be developed, each with their own potential issues and advantages. We also propose a novel hybrid platform model that could, at least partially, resolve many of the socio-technical issues associated with peer review, and potentially disrupt the entire scholarly communication system. Success for any such development relies on reaching a critical threshold of research community engagement with both the process and the platform, and therefore cannot be achieved without a significant change of incentives in research environments.

KEYWORDS:

Incentives; Open Peer Review; Open Science; Quality Control; Scholarly Publishing; Social Media; Web 2.0

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: JPT works for ScienceOpen and is the founder of paleorXiv; DG is on the Editorial Board of Journal of Open Research Software and RIO Journal; TRH and LM work for OpenAIRE; LM works for Aletheia; DM is a co-founder of RIO Journal, on the Editorial Board of PLOS Computational Biology and on the Board of WikiProject Med; DRB is the founder of engrXiv and the Journal of Open Engineering; KN, DSK, and CRM are on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Open Source Software; DSK is an academic editor for PeerJ Computer Science; CN and DPD are the President and Vice-President of FORCE11, respectively.

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