As the scientific community comes together to celebrate and recognize the importance of the peer review process and the value of peer reviewers this week, we also want to call attention to the individuals, initiatives, and areas of ACS Publications that are dedicated and committed to creating trust and integrity in research.
Dr. Sofia Garakyaraghi is the Senior Managing Editor of ACS Central Science and also oversees the Transparent Peer Review Pilot. In this segment, we asked Sofia for her input and perspective on the pilot and how it supports accessibility, ethics, and trust in the peer review and publishing process.
What is the importance of transparent peer review?
Transparent peer review provides readers with insights into the scientific dialogue between authors and reviewers. Not only does this highlight the critical role of reviewers and peer review in assessing data and claims and shaping the quality of research output, but it is also of significant benefit to the broader scientific community as it allows readers to understand the scientific questions raised by reviewers and the responses to those questions by authors, providing much greater context behind the final article. The greater context and transparency can serve to strengthen trust in the peer review process and system in general.
What are the benefits of transparent peer review?
Transparent peer review has fantastic pedagogical value, especially for new and early-career researchers. Peer reviewing is both educational and instructive for both the reviewer and the author and by publishing these exchanges alongside the article, these educational opportunities extend to readers. Readers can now learn from these constructive exchanges and also make their own interpretations of the rigor of the peer review process on an individual article level.
Transparent peer review also fosters collegiality throughout the review process and may help to address the author’s concern about bias in peer review.
How does the transparent peer review pilot help support, uphold, and influence research integrity at ACS?
Peer review is the cornerstone of scientific publishing and underpins the quality and trust in scholarly literature. This makes peer review integral to our collective ability to trust research. As global research output continues to grow in quantity, unfortunately so do instances of retractions and reports of manipulated peer review. Growing awareness of these issues in the published literature has resulted in some scientists losing confidence in peer review. Transparent peer review can strengthen trust in peer review as the higher level of transparency allows readers to judge the content and quality of the peer review process itself. Publication of the peer review reports may also increase accountability amongst authors, reviewers, and editors alike. Increased transparency and accountability together may even improve the rigor and collegiality of peer review as well.
The ACS Transparent Peer Review Pilot is currently active in two journals, ACS Central Science and The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. ACS Publications recognizes peer review as a critical element of our journals program as part of ACS’ commitment to exploring new ways of conducting peer review to better serve our community and demonstrate our commitment to open science.
Upcoming Peer Review Week Events
Make sure to follow along on ACS Axial for the final part of this series featuring an interview with Prof. Tieru Zhang, one of ACS Publications’ Top Peer Reviewers over the past year, and a quiz to test your knowledge about Peer Review in Part 5 of this five-part series tomorrow!