Following its success on Royal Society Open Science, Open Biology will introduce open peer review on all manuscripts submitted from 11th May 2017.

 

A growing appetite to increase openness in science

Open Biology plans to make the editorial process of papers as transparent as possible, by making the reviewer reports, decision letter and associated author responses accessible alongside published articles. The journal will maintain reviewer anonymity, and although we do encourage reviewers to sign their reports, this will be voluntary. Authors do have recourse to opt out of open peer review only if sufficient reason is provided to the handling editors. Reviewer reports will be made public under an open access licence, CC-BY.

 

Why Open Peer Review?

Traditional peer review is a relatively private affair, with the reviewer reports being seen by only a handful of individuals and the name of the reviewer being seen by even fewer. The move towards greater transparency in science has led to a number of journals adopting a more open model.

The proposal made to the Open Biology editorial board in 2016 was for peer review reports to be published anonymously and be mandated on a trial basis. Authors and reviewers will be given the opportunity to feedback on the new process in a survey at the end of 2017.

Graph showing percentage of authors opting for open peer review in Royal Society Open Science

Royal Society Open Science – submitting authors opting for open peer review (January 2017)

Our sister journal Royal Society Open Science has operated a model of optional open peer review since launch with over two-thirds of authors choosing to publish peer review information on publication of their paper. Furthermore, nearly half of reviewers now opt to have their name included.

Open Biology is well placed to show leadership in this by ensuring data are shared, conflicts of interest are declared and peer review is transparent on all articles.

 

Benefits of open peer review

Publishing peer review information on which the decision to publish is based has many benefits for science.

  • Readers can see the comments by reviewers and make up their mind if they agree or disagree.
  • Readers have the opportunity to comment post publication in possession of more information.
  • The published science can be improved (or on occasion debunked).
  • By signing their reports, reviewers can get the recognition they deserve for this vital activity, via peer review recognition services including Publons and ORCID.
  • Encourages good and fair practice.
  • Professor David Glover
  • The entire review process gains more trust with transparency and makes the editors and reviewers accountable for the peer review and the decision-making process.
  • The suggestions made by reviewers’ to improve the paper provide examples of what makes a good review.

 

“Open access was a first step towards making scientific findings quickly and widely accessible. We now live in a very different world and continue to welcome authors to a truly international forum for open scientific exchange. The launch of open peer review on Open Biology is a positive movement for the journal and will help to meet our community’s needs for free and open cooperation in science.”

Professor David Glover FRS, Editor in Chief, Open Biology