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      What is open peer review? A systematic review

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      open peer review, Open Science, scholarly communication, research evaluation, publishing

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          Background: “Open peer review” (OPR), despite being a major pillar of Open Science, has neither a standardized definition nor an agreed schema of its features and implementations. The literature reflects this, with a myriad of overlapping and often contradictory definitions. While the term is used by some to refer to peer review where the identities of both author and reviewer are disclosed to each other, for others it signifies systems where reviewer reports are published alongside articles. For others it signifies both of these conditions, and for yet others it describes systems where not only “invited experts” are able to comment. For still others, it includes a variety of combinations of these and other novel methods.

          Methods: Recognising the absence of a consensus view on what open peer review is, this article undertakes a systematic review of definitions of “open peer review” or “open review”, to create a corpus of 122 definitions. These definitions are then systematically analysed to build a coherent typology of the many different innovations in peer review signified by the term, and hence provide the precise technical definition currently lacking.

          Results: This quantifiable data yields rich information on the range and extent of differing definitions over time and by broad subject area. Quantifying definitions in this way allows us to accurately portray exactly how  ambiguously the phrase “open peer review”  has been used thus far, for the literature offers a total of 22 distinct configurations of seven traits, effectively meaning that there are 22 different definitions of OPR in the literature.

          Conclusions: Based on this work, I propose a pragmatic definition of open peer review as an umbrella term for a number of overlapping ways that peer review models can be adapted in line with the ethos of Open Science, including making reviewer and author identities open, publishing review reports and enabling greater participation in the peer review process.

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          Most cited references 67

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          Misconduct accounts for the majority of retracted scientific publications.

          A detailed review of all 2,047 biomedical and life-science research articles indexed by PubMed as retracted on May 3, 2012 revealed that only 21.3% of retractions were attributable to error. In contrast, 67.4% of retractions were attributable to misconduct, including fraud or suspected fraud (43.4%), duplicate publication (14.2%), and plagiarism (9.8%). Incomplete, uninformative or misleading retraction announcements have led to a previous underestimation of the role of fraud in the ongoing retraction epidemic. The percentage of scientific articles retracted because of fraud has increased ∼10-fold since 1975. Retractions exhibit distinctive temporal and geographic patterns that may reveal underlying causes.
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            Publication prejudices: An experimental study of confirmatory bias in the peer review system

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              Peer review: a flawed process at the heart of science and journals.

               Richard Smith (2006)

                Author and article information

                [1 ]Göttingen State and University Library, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, 37073, Germany
                [1 ]Urban & Public Affairs Librarian, Portland State University, Portland, OR, USA
                [1 ]Global Publishing Development department, Elsevier, RELX Group, Amsterdam, Netherlands
                [1 ]The BMJ, London, UK
                [1 ]Blue Brain Project, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Geneva, Switzerland
                Author notes

                Competing interests: No competing interests were disclosed.

                F1000Research (London, UK )
                27 April 2017
                : 6
                5437951 10.12688/f1000research.11369.1
                Copyright: © 2017 Ross-Hellauer T

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Funded by: European Commission H2020 project OpenAIRE2020
                Award ID: 643410
                This work is funded by the European Commission H2020 project OpenAIRE2020 (Grant agreement: 643410, Call: H2020-EINFRA-2014-1).
                The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript .
                Systematic Review
                Data Sharing
                Public Engagement
                Publishing & Peer Review
                Web and Social Media


                A must-read for those which are interested in open peer review (OPR), a pre-requisite for scholarly communication in the post-print 21st century. It's the first paper I read in which the author has tried to analyse and compare the manifold definitions and practices of open peer review at different (mega-)journals or platforms.

                2017-07-23 19:33 UTC

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