Peer review is an essential part of maintaining quality in scholarly publishing. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s the best we’ve got at the moment, and therefore various organisations including publishers, ORCID, Publons, and Sense about Science are getting together to celebrate all things peer review in Peer Review Week 2018. This year’s theme is diversity in peer review.
You can find out more about how peer review works from this explainer in The Conversation. Most researchers first experience of peer review is to be on the receiving end of reviews for a manuscript they have submitted, but the whole system relies on researchers stepping up and reviewing manuscripts submitted by others. If you are considering an academic career, participating in the peer review system as a reviewer will be something you will be invited to do. If you are interested in developing your skills as a peer reviewer, then Publons have a free online course.
Being a peer reviewer is, however, yet another time-consuming responsibility for researchers on top of everything else, and is usually unpaid. Since peer review at its best is double-blind (neither the authors nor reviewers know the identity of the others), this work can be invisible. There are warm-fuzzies to be had from knowing you’re doing your bit to be a good academic citizen, but it’s valuable also to be able to keep track of (and therefore provide evidence of) the peer review work that you do. The services Publons and ORCID can both help you do this.
There’s lots of exciting stuff going on for Peer Review Week 2018, and some of it starts today, so do head over to the website to find out more. I’m particularly looking forward to the blog post from The Scholarly Kitchen with a literature review of recent studies of bias in peer review including a summary of recommendations for addressing it (read the preview of Scholarly Kitchen activity for Peer Review Week), and the “Top 10 Questions about Peer Review” webinar, which aims to demystify the peer review process for authors. You can also follow along on Twitter @PeerRevWeek and the hashtags #PeerReviewWeek18 and #PeerRevDiversityInclusion.