Welcome to Peer Review Week! To kick off the celebration of all things review, here’s a quick reminder of the central role peer review plays in scholarly communications. Below are our tenets of peer review:
Peer review makes science better - Multiple industry wide research reports (the 2008 Ware & Monkman report, Sense about Science’s 2009 survey and CIBER report from 2013) show that the majority of researchers feel that peer review improves the quality of their published papers.
Peer review is the central pillar of trust for researchers - Researchers want to be published in journals that have robust peer review and they feel secure in citing peer reviewed material. (CIBER, 2013)
But, our own research shows that peer review is not just important in a broad sense…
An author’s experience of peer review shapes his/her overall publishing experience - The quality of the peer review experience is a crucial factor in an author’s decision about where to publish:
Speed to online publication is ranked as the 2nd most important benefit by Wiley authors after an online submission system. And, the perceived quality of the peer review process consistently appears as one of the top five most influential factors for authors in deciding where to submit their paper.
Beyond this, authors who express the most satisfaction with their publishing experiences are those that state they’ve had an easy time with the review process..
On the flip side, the authors expressing the lowest levels of satisfaction are those who experienced a difficult review process and struggled to communicate with their reviewers. The primary problems? The review took longer than expected (35%) and authors struggled to understand what the reviewers wanted (35%). Notably, 53% of reviewers in this category are early career researchers.
But, what about reviewers themselves? It won’t come as a surprise that a lot of researcher time is spent reviewing. Our research indicates that 5 in 10 reviewers are actively reviewing for five or more journals at any given time. Experienced reviewers (those with more than five years of reviewing experience) shoulder even more of the burden with 61% reviewing for five or more journals at any one time. Taking just the top 12 publishers alone, we estimate that 55.2 million researcher hours were spent reviewing papers in 2013. That’s a big time commitment!
It’s our job, as publishers, to protect the integrity and continue to improve the review process - Researchers believe that organizing and managing peer review is the crucial role of publishers. (CIBER, 2013)and this is a job we take very seriously. Some of the ways in which Wiley is seeking to improve the efficiency of the process, include:
- Investing in best practice peer review processes. In 2014 we consolidated the peer review experience within our business into one global team of 54 colleagues who manage the editorial offices for around 170 journals, working with our academic editors and applying best practice in order to make peer review as efficient and robust as possible.
- Evolving the peer review process: The vast majority of our journals use either single or double blind review, but we also offer newer forms of review across a number of journals. We are exploring how to reduce the amount of repeat reviewing by innovating around transferable peer review. In addition, eight journals offer open review models, four use a collaborative review process and we also have a journal which uses a “bidding” process whereby reviewers bid for the paper they wish to review.. The infographic below provides a birds eye view of the peer review models across Wiley journals.
- Providing training and best practice guidance to peer reviewers: In 2014 alone we ran about 200 author and reviewer in-person workshops in 17 countries. We are also experimenting with mentoring schemes for journals such as Journal of Morphology and Austral Ecology. Last year we launched our peer review webinar series, our peer review resource center and a regular series of peer review posts on this blog.
- Improving recognition of the contribution made by reviewers: The ways reviewers currently receive recognition varies from journal to journal, and include recognition in a journal’s official list of reviewers, letters or certificate of contribution from the journal editor, and book or APC discounts. We’re also looking into other ways to acknowledge a reviewer’s contribution and currently have initiatives underway which look at recording reviewer activity as a measurable research output. For example, we are undertaking a pilot which enables peer reviewers for selected Wiley journals to receive credit for their peer reviews on Publons.
This week, we’re looking forward to some great conversation and community-driven discussion about – and celebration of – peer review. Join the conversation at #PeerRevWk15.
Look out for:
- Daily blog posts about peer review
- Social posts using the hashtag #PeerRevWk15
- A peer review video created especially for the week