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The publishing industry has welcomed many changes, and it is high time we get to peer review. Traditional peer review is still followed by many journals to produce articles of high quality and significance. Open access (OA) publishing offers solutions to its limitations and the increasing inflow of articles.
Peer Review Process
Peer review is crucial in maintaining the standard of publications. There is simply no alternative. After the submission of a manuscript, it goes through initial checks and then proceeds for peer review. Other researchers in the same domain provide feedback after scrutinizing the manuscript. They check for plagiarism, errors, and areas that require revision or more work, and the quality and usefulness of the work. After the author makes the necessary changes in the manuscript, it is reviewed and either rejected, sent again for revision, or accepted. The types of traditional peer review are as follows:
- Single-blind: Reviewers stay anonymous
- Double-blind: Reviewers and authors are anonymous
- Triple blind: Reviewers, authors, and editors are anonymous
- Traditional peer review lacks transparency, but it is not uncommon for the blinded peer reviewers or editors to spot the authors. They are easily identified by their style of writing and type of work.
- Reviewers who spend from weeks to months on the review are not recognized for the work they do, nor do they receive any compensation.
- There is no standard procedure to pertain to. Each journal has its own review process.
OA and Open Peer Review
Open peer review is completely transparent. Authors, editors, and readers know who the reviewers are. There are many levels of openness. In a collaborative peer review, the authors and reviewers interact and work together to improve the manuscript. Postpublication peer review also exists, where the paper is published after initial checks and the reviewers can directly comment with their feedback on a public platform. This way the reviewers are credited, the review report and responses are published along with the paper, and the paper receives interaction and better feedback from a wider community. The processing time is reduced, and transparency does not let the research be copied by reviewers. There is no place for manipulation, and reviewers need not accept or reject papers due to influences in the research community.
OA publishers are experimenting with unblinded peer reviews to make research more open. Few journals like PLoS, Nature Communications, and BMC have already employed open peer review. It helps in understanding the process and can be used to educate. Openness paves the way for collaborations and growth as a community.
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