In a recent post on the BioMed Central blog, postdoctoral researcher Elodie Chabrol describes the frustration she felt upon realising that the slow pace of peer review would potentially delay publication of her research by several months. As she put it, ‘No one would ever read the news with months of delay, but that’s what we scientists do.’
Chabrol expresses concern about the use of single-blind peer review, in which the reviewers’ identity is hidden from the authors but not vice versa, fearing that it may allow researchers to review competitors’ work unfairly. She questions whether it is fair that researchers are not rewarded for peer review, and asks whether more should be done to enable early career researchers to act as peer reviewers. Finally, Chabrol highlights a number of initiatives that have been launched in an effort to improve peer review and publishing. These include the collaborative writing platforms ‘Authorea’ and ‘Overleaf’, as well as ‘Paperhive’, which encourages a more informal type of peer review by allowing researchers to read papers that have been annotated by others.
Chabrol’s blog post builds on discussions that took place towards the end of last year, when BioMed Central, Digital Science and the Wellcome Trust hosted a one-day conference called ‘SpotOn London’ with the theme ‘What might peer review look like in 2030?’. The full report from the conference has now been made freely available online.