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Is there a way to get your research article peer reviewed without submitting to a conference or journal?

I am imagining something like openreview.net or even some private peer review system since you would most probably publish that article later in a conference/journal.

Note I work in computer science mainly Machine Learning

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    Do you want to solicit feedback or do you need peer review as a form of scientific approval for your manuscript? Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 11:56
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    Will you be paying for this peer review?
    – GEdgar
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 12:38
  • @henning--reinstateMonica Just for feedback and could be used to improve quality for future submission
    – AnarKi
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 12:40
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    Based on your fist comment, there seems to be some confusion about terminology: feedback as such would not be considered as peer review. Peer review is a formalized process that ends with a decision on a manuscript ("accept," "reject", possibly also "revise"). Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 17:45
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    What is wrong with submitting your manuscript to a journal? If they reject it, you've gotten the peer review you wanted. If they accept it, you've gotten a paper out of it. And if they ask for major revisions, you don't actually have to do them, you can withdraw the paper and sit on it (which is what would happen anyway if you got somebody else to review it). Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 13:00

4 Answers 4

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The way most people do this is to call one of their "peers" and ask them to review the paper. This could be a co-worker or someone from a different department or university. If you do not know anyone, talk to someone who does.

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    This is correct, but the work still won't be regarded as "peer reviewed publication". Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 11:57
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    That is also correct ;) My answer assumes that the purpose is to get honest feedback, not to be able to list an unpublishable paper as "peer reviewed" on a CV or something like that.
    – Louic
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 11:58
  • This is usually the way to do it i agree however am asking for some really “objective” review such as the ones you get from high quality conferences and journals. And if such a thing exists through some platform of some sort
    – AnarKi
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 12:44
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    @AnarKi There is no reason why your colleagues would not be able to conduct a highly objective review if you ask them to. They review papers all the time.
    – Louic
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 13:25
  • I usually get a much more detailed feedback from referees in journals and conferences, than from peers I know. Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 20:01
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This is a take-off on the answer of Louic.

If you have confidence in your results then there is no need for this. Just submit to an appropriate journal and you will get the feedback you need.

But, for those cases in which you aren't sure...

This is why it is so important for newer researchers to form wide circles of contacts within their field. People who know enough, and are trusted enough, to give feedback on ideas and even read and comment on drafts and work in progress.

One way to do this, if you are at a large-ish institution is to form or join a research seminar devoted to a small set of topics. Papers can be passed around for comment. The coffee lounge is also a good place to do this, though it is probably something online these days.

Making contact with people at conferences (real or virtual) can help you build that circle. You can ask your advisors to be included in their circles. But, for effective research in the modern era, a circle is essential for most people, but especially for those at the start of their career.

But, cold emailing people isn't very likely to be effective. People don't know (or trust) you nor you, them.

And don't neglect to include your own students in your circle(s) as they develop.

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  • Just to add, there's an electronic equivalent of this on some platforms. ResearchGate allows you to request a contact to review your paper. Technically it works both ways - you get a paper peer reviewed and your buddy gets to practice peer reviewing papers.
    – Pam
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 16:26
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A platform specifically designed for this purpose is Peer Community In (PCI):

“Peer Community in” (PCI) is a non-profit scientific organization that aims to create specific communities of researchers reviewing and recommending, for free, unpublished preprints in their field (i.e. unpublished articles deposited on open online archives like arXiv and bioRxiv1). ´

However, note that you need to "publish" your piece as an "unpublished" pre-print first. (Yes, there is a little paradox there, as pre-prints are not considered as "published".)

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Give a talk, in your department, at a peer's department, at a workshop (without proceedings).

Share preprints, with colleagues after talks, in public repositories, with fellow researchers whom you cite/respect/collaborate.

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