Open peer-review: time for a closer look


Every author has had unfair or experienced opposed peer reviews. Some papers have been rejected by bad or politically motivated reviews that later proved to be a turning point in research. The impression that reviewers never know the authors’ identities is an illusion, particularly in small scientific communities. The authors can be identified easily by trial registration, references, and meeting presentation.

Peer review for many scientists is like unpaid labor that fulfills their CV. There are many excellent reviewers, but there are also those that write a few sentences or use the word ‘reject,’ making it challenging for the editor to decide. It is also rare that reviewers decline to review based on their lack of experience with a topic. You can determine from the reviewer’s comments if they have any clue about the paper. Poor reviews establish editorial bias, which is harmful to scientific publishing.

In standard medical journal peer review, the reviewer behaves as an anonymous judge, rendering a decision behind a curtain without giving the accused (the authors) the opportunity to provide a defense. The authors then change their manuscript to be in line with the demands of the reviewers, thereby increasing the chance of publication. This results in a publication bias as the original content of the paper is diluted. Additionally, it avoids one of the primary objectives of scientific publishing, which is to spark debate about various viewpoints.

One of the key benefits of open peer review is that it gives the authors the chance to debate and rebut some of the reviewers’ remarks because their response to the reviewers is public once a paper has been accepted for publication. The peer review and the authors’ reactions are now essential components of publishing, which is something new. Therefore, there is significantly less chance of publishing a work that has been altered to appease the reviewers. The future is open peer review, which produces better papers by avoiding all the publication bias seen in anonymous peer reviews.




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