Journal Publishers Rethink a Research Mainstay: Peer Review
Over the past few years, they have sought to repair, replace, or revolutionize the practice of peer review. Their methods vary. Some propose radical transparency. Some seek to decouple review from journals. Some propose crediting scientists for their review work. And some propose doing away with the system.
Much of this work was highlighted last month, when a small group of publishers held the first Peer Review Week, via online media, to promote the benefits of and debate changes in the existing system.
“All in all, it seems pretty dreadful,” says Andrew R.H. Preston, a physicist who helped start Publons, one of several services seeking to give researchers scientific credit for their reviews.
Started two years ago, Publons has prompted controversy. It allows referees to upload reviews, without journal approval, that could prove embarrassing to authors. It has raised ethical questions that researchers have only begun to ponder, including basic things, like just who owns peer review, anyway?
Mr. Stell is one of the founders of PubPeer, a website that allows anyone to anonymously comment on a published research article. The site has become known for its role in exposing several scientific frauds in the past few years.