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How can we train and engage with tomorrow's peer reviewers?

Publons' Global State of Peer Review 2018 is here! Far-reaching and pulling no punches, this largescale report assesses the lay of the research landscape to improve the future of peer review.

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In the fourth of our Publisher insight articles read on to discover the perspectives of Wiley, SAGE, The British Institute of Radiology, and the Association of University Presses on the importance of training, knowledge exchange, and equipping the new generation of peer reviewers with the right skillsets to cope with the changing research ecosystem.

Tami Potten, Editorial Development Manager, The British Institute of Radiology:

Training and support for new reviewers is essential – traditionally this would be provided by mentors and supervisors but time pressures make this increasingly difficult.

Having an independent, reliable and freely accessible set of training resources, in multiple languages, would help in this respect, especially in emerging markets where there might not be as much opportunity for mentorship.

The Publons Academy offers such resources and could be an important first port of call for young researchers who independently want to learn more about the peer review process. Here at the BIR we offer guidance to reviewers and ‘Reviewer Tips’ on our website, which we provide links to from our online submission and peer review platform.

Kristen Marchetti, Associate Director of Peer Review, SAGE:

Peer Reviewer training is very important in ensuring that newer reviewers understand the task that they’re agreeing to undertake as well as the basic expectations associated with that role.

We recognize that the individuals we ask to review manuscripts are fitting this into their busy schedules. With this in mind we want the review experience to be positive, efficient and provide a great learning experience for all involved.

If reviewers are educated on the responsibilities and expectations of being a reviewer (both on a broad level and on the individual journal level) they spend the right amount of time on a review, the editors then receive comments in a timely fashion, and authors receive rich and valuable feedback.

There are a number of organizations and courses which currently provide training material for new reviewers (such as the COPE guidelines for peer reviewers, Publons Academy, Sense About Science, etc.). Furthermore, at the individual journal level there is also a significant amount of effort by journal staff, editors, societies and SAGE staff that goes into organizing, leading and participating in workshops designed to help improve reviewer education and skills. One example is the recent “Reviewer’s Day” which was co-hosted by SAGE and the British Elbow & Shoulder Society in which new reviewers, or those interested in sharpening their review skills, were invited to attend to learn more about how to engage as an effective reviewer for the journal.

Peter Berkery, Executive Director, Association of University Presses:

I really can’t speak to the needs of STEM journal publishing in this regard, but in the context of increased diversity and inclusion the need to equip more scholars with a robust and consistent understanding of the expectations of the peer review process is essential.

Elizabeth Moylan, iPublisher, Research Integrity and Publishing Ethics, Wiley:

In July 2015, Wiley surveyed researchers to explore peer reviewing experiences, attitudes towards recognition and reward for reviewers, and training requirements and reported back on the findings. 77% of the 3000 reviewers who responded to the survey expressed an interest in having more training in peer review especially in how to approach peer review, how to give feedback and construct a report.

Many publishers provide training and support for peer reviewers, but institutions need to play an active role too.

Hand-in-hand with that training could be certification and should be recognition for peer reviewers too.


Publons Global State of Peer Review Report

What does the peer review landscape look like today? Is it getting better or worse? And who's actually doing all the peer review, anyway? We made it part of our Peer Review Week mission to find out.

  • Publons' Global State of peer review report combines:
  • Rich and extensive data from Clarivate Analytic's ScholarOne Manuscripts and Web of Science
  • Data-driven analysis from Publons' exclusive cross-publisher peer review platform
  • Survey responses from ~12,000 researchers around the globe
  • Statistics and insight to reveal the peer uncover the future direction of peer review.

Download the gspr now

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