Maria Kowalczuk, PhD
Deputy Biology Editor, BioMed Central
Innovation in Peer Review
Traditional peer review
• Peer review in the current form has been used
• Traditionally scientific journals use single blind
peer review or double blind peer review models.
• Online publishing and open access have changed
the publishing landscape while peer review
process has remained the same.
Pitfalls of traditional
• Expensive to manage
Open (non-anonymous) peer review
Randomised Controlled Trial (BMJ 1999; 318: 23 – 27):
- no effect on report quality, recommendation, or time taken to review
- increased likelihood of reviewers declining to review
Publishing peer review documents
- In all 4 EMBO publications, including EMBO J, EMBO Reports
-‘Peer Review Process File’ shows all referee reports , author responses and editorial
- Referees remain anonymous; opt-out is possible
- 95% of take-up rate; willingness of referees to review unchanged
Authors can opt out of re-review; if the editors judge the revisions sufficient,
the article is published, often accompanied by a critical Commentary.
Discussed in Editorial: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/11/18.
Re-review opt-out – BMC Biology
Portable peer review
BMC Research Notes
BMC Public Health