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It’s Peer Review Week 2020: #TrustInPeerReview

September 21-25 marks the sixth annual Peer Review Week event with a focus this year on “shining a light on how the peer review process works and why it helps build trust in research” through its theme, Trust in Peer Review.

As academic authors, we participate in the peer review process and recognize the importance of peer review on the scholarly publishing process.

According to the event website, “Maintaining trust in the peer review decision-making process… includes ensuring that the peer review process is transparent… and that everyone involved in the process receives the training and education needed to play their part in making it reliable and trustworthy.”

To explore this important topic further, the Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA) will be discussing the role of authors in the peer review process throughout the week and will host a special #AcWriChat Tweetchat event on Friday, September 25th at 11am ET as part of Peer Review Week 2020.

Special #AcWriChat Tweetchat event on 9/25/2020

Last week in their Ask the Chefs series of blog posts, The Scholarly Kitchen asked the question, “What would improve trust in Peer Review?” In response, a dozen “chefs” offered insight, including the following:

  • “Let’s stop asking peer-review to do everything and build processes into scholarly workflows that provide feedback and correction at more appropriate stages.” ~Phill Jones
  • “We should keep in mind that trust is not one-sided and that all parties are held accountable in contributing to the overall benefit of the ecosystem.” ~Jasmine Wallace
  • “[M]aking your place in the process explicit underscores our interdependence, and the importance of mutual responsibility and mutual trust.” ~Karin Wulf
  • “I have pondered two possible improvements: a checklist provided to reviewers and published alongside the article, and an indication of the reviewer’s experience / qualifications for reviewing.” ~Charlie Rapple
  • “[T]he best way to improve trust in peer review — or pretty much everything — is by increasing transparency.” ~Alice Meadows
  • “We need to relentlessly educate and re-educate people why we need to rely on scientific processes, despite their limitations and the uncertainties around them.” ~Haseeb Irfanullah
  • “Clarity of expectations, communication about those expectations, recognition for, and potentially metrics around those contributions would go a long way to improving peer review.” ~Todd Carpenter
  • “Journals also need to be able to reject a much higher proportion of articles without fearing backlash from publishers and, ultimately, the subscription paying libraries…. On the Open Access side, moving away from APCs (which incentivize acceptance) to submission fees (which incentivize a quality review experience) would also be a vital shift.” ~Tim Vines
  • “We can improve trust in peer review with small, daily gestures, such as clear communications and sign-posting of tasks that arise in the review process.” ~Lettie Conrad

This week, we’re building on the discussion in that article with a series of posts titled “Developing #TrustInPeerReview from author to audience” focused on the responsibilities of authors, reviewers, and reviewers in creating a system of trust to be appreciated by the readers. Links to each article in the series can be found below.

We encourage you to consider, as academic authors, the same question in the comments below – What would improve trust in peer review?

Eric Schmieder

Eric Schmieder is the Membership Marketing Manager for TAA. He has taught computer technology concepts to curriculum, continuing education, and corporate training students since 2001. A lifelong learner, teacher, and textbook author, Eric seeks to use technology in ways that improve results in his daily processes and in the lives of those he serves. His latest textbook, Web, Database, and Programming: A foundational approach to data-driven application development using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, MySQL, and PHP, First Edition, is available now through Sentia Publishing.