Transparency, Openness and Peer Review

Peer review of a journal article is a critical aspect of publication. The academic circle only acknowledges peer-reviewed journal publication as quality publication, mainly because it gives an assurance of quality and pedigree of the article and thereby the author.

However, there are numerous stemming issues with the peer review mechanism, that in turn has led to various forms of peer review practices. The issues of transparency and openness in peer review procedures in the underlying factor for each of these different forms.

Single-blind Review: This is a process where the author does not get to know the identity of the reviewer, while the reviewer knows who the author is. This is often followed to prevent authors from influencing peers who are reviewing their articles.

Double-Blind Review: This is e process where neither the author nor the reviewer knows each other’s identity. This is followed to prevent any form of nexus or collusion between author and reviewer. This mechanism promises maximum quality control with minimal transparency in the process.

Open Peer Review: This is the exact opposite where both author and reviewer know each other’s identity. This model is one of the most transparent processes and it seeks to address the issue of influence or collusion via an open and transparent process.

Transparent Peer Review: This new form emerged with the emergence of open access journals. In this model, both the article and the peer reviews are posted on the site. Often, an open-access journal uploads the entire article as received from the author on the site and invites reviewers to post their reviews as comments. The entire process is often based on a subscription-based model, where both authors and reviewers have subscribed to the open-access journal, as are the readers who want to access both articles and reviews. This is one of the most innovative and transparent review mechanisms gaining popularity.

Collaborative Review: in this case, either one or more reviewers work together to share a common review, or authors work in collaboration with reviewers on the final draft. This process is also popular for the transparency and openness of publication.

Post-publication Review: This is an extension of the earlier discussed transparent peer review mechanism, where the author’s article is posted as received, and solicited and unsolicited reviews are posted along with it. This is often like a blog where everyone is free to comment on the original post. This model is often restricted to subscription-based access to prevent trolling.

Transferable peer Review: This is a new offering from several publishers in which they allow authors, whose article they may have rejected, to transfer their manuscript along with the peer reviews received to another publication. This allows greater transparency where the new journal and reviewers have an open idea about why it was rejected earlier or the developments done on the previous comments.

Different forms of peer review have differing forms of transparency and openness. There is a set formula as each has its own merits and demerits. What matters is the choice of the journal and what process the journal follows.


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