Throughout this post, we want to explain what is open peer review and why it is so important for open access and, therefore, for open science. Open peer review, as open access, open data, and more others, is an important element to seek the final aim of open science, which is to make science free and available for everyone worldwide, no matter if you are a student, researcher, or a current worker. The goal is to avoid the barriers the subscription model builds and make science free and accessible for the sake of science and society.
So, what is peer review?
Peer review is the process where scientific papers are reviewed to guarantee their validity and quality by some experts reviewers in such discipline generally anonymously and separately, to assure the veracity of the results, ideas and readiness to be published. Scientific journals often use peer review to validate the quality of these articles and then, they share the valid ones on their journals to maintain their status in the scientific world and get recognized as a prestigious journal. The reality of this process is that many papers are rejected, more than the ones which are published, making the authors of those articles frustrate for many reasons.
First of all, it is an anonymous process where the authors do not know who the reviewers are or even author identities are also hidden, thus some authors might feel it is a distrustful process because of the lack of information and clarity. In fact, it is a very long and opaque process where neither the progress of the publication and the reviews are made public. Authors could wait for months to be informed about whether their papers are approved or not, besides they´ve worked for years on the research. Furthermore, it is a very selective method where the editors of the journals choose the reviewers they consider right to evaluate, but those reviewers do not earn money for that so it is complicated to have real experts of every discipline. So by making this process open some of the problems mentioned could be fixed.
Which are the differences between peer review and open peer review?
As we said, the peer review is a closed process characterized by being anonymous, selective, and opaque, in contrast, open peer review seeks to open such process by making it transparent, interactive, and available to the community and the public. Open peer review makes the identities of the authors and reviewers public, thus, they can interact and talk to each other, and at least know who is reviewing their work or the author of the paper. The reports are available and open for everyone without barriers and any individual can read the work itself and the review report. Moreover, it allows the community to participate and comment on the final version of the publications which encourages the rest of the people interested on the paper to interact by writing their opinions about the article and start constructive scientific discussions. It is important to make clear that all these activities can only be possible in an open access platform.
Why is open peer review important for science?
Science is a public matter and scientific knowledge helps to evolve and preserve the human race which cannot be used as a hard currency and principal source of income for employers who only care about the money and not about science. Following this path, open peer review pretends to be an interactive mechanism where the whole community participates during the process by reading articles, reviews and adding comments. Furthermore, as the review can be read by anyone, reviewers will evaluate the paper fairly without any conflict of interest. Besides, as the publications are reviewed by a community the speed of the evaluation increases. As well as the reliability because of the fact that the papers instead of being reviewed by a couple of reviewers are read by a whole community, so it is more probable to find the mistakes and inconsistencies. Finally, open peer review motivates researchers to publish their work, as they will receive fast and honest feedback from a whole community about their papers and in the case that some of them are really good, they will obtain higher chances to reach a bigger audience.
“The Evolving Scholar”, the open peer review community in Orvium
TU Delft and Orvium jointly collaborate to encourage open science, following the belief that science is a public matter and it must be globally shared and available. This way, in Orvium open access publishing platform, the TU Delft community “The Evolving Scholar”, enables everyone to easily access, publish and comment research publications, and one important feature of this community is the open peer review process. Becoming TU Delft one of the firsts universities in standing up for this review method and consolidating their TU Delft Open policies.
To sum up, the open peer review is a key element to make science open and available for everyone, this movement seeks to move beyond the traditional peer review and switch to a transparent, accessible, and community-driven peer review. This way, scientific papers will be more reliable and consistent where the authors will be constantly informed about the situation of their papers thanks to the speed of the process, making such knowledge easy to access. Making open science real.
- Enago Academy: https://www.enago.com/academy/what-is-open-peer-review-a-definitive-study/
- Foster: https://www.fosteropenscience.eu/learning/open-peer-review/#/id/5a17e150c2af651d1e3b1bce
- TU Delft open peer review community "The Evolving Scholar": https://dapp.orvium.io/communities/5fa1908fd29a17dc961cc435/view
- TU Delft Open policies: https://www.tudelft.nl/en/library/current-topics/tu-delft-open-science/os/open-publishing/about/policies/