Peer review in 2015: A global view

A white paper by Taylor & Francis: “Within the academic community, peer review is widely recognized as being at the heart of scholarly research. However, faith in peer review’s integrity is of ongoing and increasing concern to many. It is imperative that publishers (and academic editors) of peer-reviewed scholarly research learn from each other, working together to improve practices in areas such as ethical issues, training, and data transparency….Key findings:

  • Authors, editors and reviewers all agreed that the most important motivation to publish in peer reviewed journals is making a contribution to the field and sharing research with others.
  • Playing a part in the academic process and improving papers are the most important motivations for reviewers. Similarly, 90% of SAS study respondents said that playing a role in the academic community was a motivation to review.
  • Most researchers, across the humanities and social sciences (HSS) and science, technology and medicine (STM), rate the benefit of the peer review process towards improving their article as 8 or above out of 10. This was found to be the most important aspect of peer review in both the ideal and the real world, echoing the earlier large-scale peer review studies.
  • In an ideal world, there is agreement that peer review should detect plagiarism (with mean ratings of 7.1 for HSS and 7.5 for STM out of 10), but agreement that peer review is currently achieving this in the real world is only 5.7 HSS / 6.3 STM out of 10.
  • Researchers thought there was a low prevalence of gender bias but higher prevalence of regional and seniority bias – and suggest that double blind peer review is most capable of preventing reviewer discrimination where it is based on an author’s identity.
  • Most researchers wait between one and six months for an article they’ve written to undergo peer review, yet authors (not reviewers / editors) think up to two months is reasonable .
  • HSS authors say they are kept less well informed than STM authors about the progress of their article through peer review….(More)”