Rapid publication is widely pursued, but with review taking, on average, 80 days per paper1 (that’s 1,920 hours of waiting for a decision), it is not surprising that it can be a much-maligned process.
And, it all starts over if the paper gets rejected from the author’s first choice journal (often for reasons of impact or scope). The entire peer-review process is repeated upon resubmission to another publication and it’s not uncommon for reviewers to be asked to review the same paper multiple times by different journals.
Addressing this issue, we are piloting Wiley’s transferable peer review – a system to preserve and transfer the initial peer review, enabling the review to travel with the article on its route to publication.
Wiley’s goal is to support efficient and thorough peer review. We believe this enhanced system of transferring papers and reviews in a seamless manner will save authors, reviewers and editors valuable time. By reducing the number of reviews in the universe, we aim to reduce the burden on reviewers, while helping editors to make prompt decisions and significantly increase the publication speed of many papers.
While there are initiatives to take the journal out of the peer review process altogether and detach reviewer reports from publication in a specific journal, we believe that many authors know which journals they would prefer to publish in. They want to own that choice, rather than being told which journal they should submit to or waiting for a journal to bid for publication of their paper (which they may not wish to publish in).
Wiley’s transferable peer review is currently been piloted amongnine of our high impact neuroscience titles – see www.wileyonlinelibrary.com/peerreviewpilot.
Papers submitted to one of these journals will be reviewed using the journals’ usual review format. If the paper is rejected, authors can opt to transfer the paper to another Wiley-published neuroscience journal, sharing the peer review that has already taken place and thereby receiving a speedier decision.
Authors are encouraged to consider a transfer only when appropriate - the purpose is not to provide a soft reject option for the original journal or to keep poor papers in the system.
Of course, most journals are attached to their own approach to peer review and it can be difficult to perform review outside the context and lens of a specific journal. An additional component of this transfer is the use of a standard review scorecard used among all participating journals and filled out by the reviewer in parallel to the current peer review at each journal. The primary goal of the scorecard is to provide a framework for objective evaluation. Using the scorecard,reviewers can provide a quantitative assessment of the quality of the research and also its novelty, impact and interest.
This pilot will run for at least six months and results will be used to develop a robust process which can be expanded across Wiley’s journal portfolio.
1 M. Ware, Peer review: benefits, perceptions, and alternatives (Publishing Research Consortium, London UK, 2008; http://www.publishingresearch.org.uk/documents/PRCsummary4Warefinal.pdf)