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posted on Wed, Feb 13 '19 under tag: research

What is peer review? What is open peer review? What is a good format for peer reviewing?

Peer review is an essential component of research. Research is creation of new knowledge. And researchers are sometimes too much absorbed into the process that sometimes they commit blunders. There are also some forces that are involved in publishing fake science to advance their private interests. Peer review is more or less external validation of research. It is like audit of accounts. Like code review. It enhances the overall quality of body of knowledge.

Peer reviewers themselves can commit blunders. This can happen if they are biased. They can be biased if, say, the author of the paper they are reviewing is a close friend or a well-known authority. They can also be negatively biased. One way to eliminate bias in peer review is by blinding. In blinded peer reviews the reviewers (and authors also), do not know who has authored the paper. Care is also taken to remove other identifying factors like institution and location from the text.

But, at a certain level of maturity and openness, there is an alternative called open peer review. This is when the peer reviewers and the authors will know each other (and sometimes peer reviewers are even suggested by authors) and the entire process of peer review happens in the open. This is possible only when there is a high level of scientific integrity throughout the system.

Here is an example of open peer review. You can see how the reviewers improved the quality of paper and how, even though it was open, there was no words minced in asking for revisions.

Format

I have extracted the format they’ve used from the previous link for use in preparing reviews.

Title: Title of the paper being reviewed

Version: Which version is being reviewed?

Date: Date of review

Reviewer: Who is reviewing?

Reviewer report:

Level of interest: How important is the article to the field?

Quality of language: Is the text legible?

Statistical review: Are there mathematical errors?

Declaration of competing interests: Is there even a remote chance of bias?