Opening peer review may increase accuracy

November 09, 2011

Peer review is crucial for evaluation of scientific work, but it could be much more effective if it were not anonymous, according to a study published in the Nov. 9 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE.

The researchers, led by Jeff Leek of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, developed a theoretical model for the peer review system, as well as an online game that was used to test the model and provide further insight into the social dynamics involved. The results of both the model and the game show that reviewers are "rewarded" for their good reviewing work (i.e. their submission were more likely to be accepted) under non-anonymous open review but not traditional closed review; reviewers and authors are more likely to cooperate under open review; and cooperative peer reviewing behavior, including open review, leads to higher review accuracy.

According to the authors, "new forms of communication have opened the door for changes to the scientific peer review process. Our theoretical and experimental model system for peer review makes it possible to evaluate potential changes to the system".

Together, these results suggest that the current system of closed peer review does not foster optimal reviewer activity.
-end-
Citation: Leek JT, Taub MA, Pineda FJ (2011) Cooperation between Referees and Authors Increases Peer Review Accuracy. PLoS ONE 6(11): e26895. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026895

Contact: Jeff Leek, jleek@jhsph.edu, 410-955-1166, twitter: @leekgroup

Financial Disclosure: The authors have no support or funding to report.

Competing Interest Statement: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

PLEASE LINK TO THE SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT (URL goes live after the embargo ends): http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0026895

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About PLoS ONE

PLoS ONE is the first journal of primary research from all areas of science to employ a combination of peer review and post-publication rating and commenting, to maximize the impact of every report it publishes. PLoS ONE is published by the Public Library of Science (PLoS), the open-access publisher whose goal is to make the world's scientific and medical literature a public resource.

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