4

Full disclosure: I'm asking this as a displacement activity while I should be reviewing a paper.

Given how well journal clubs etc work, it has occurred to me a few times that reviewing a manuscript as a group would probably result in faster turnaround and more detailed comments. However, typically journals approach individual reviewers and place confidentiality restrictions on the reviewer so this mechanism wouldn't work. Does anyone know of any journals, ideally in the life sciences, which support or even encourage collaborative peer review of manuscripts?

  • Your idea makes perfect sense to me. If it takes a group of authors to write a paper, why can't another group of people review it? – scaaahu Sep 7 '16 at 8:49
2

Most of the European Geosciences Union (EGU)/Copernicus journals do something sort of like this - they've been doing it for some years and it mostly works out well. The journals are fairly reputable in their fields and from what I can see authors seem to like them.

EGU describe them as "two-stage journals with public peer-review and interactive public discussions".

Unhelpfully for you, though, these are all geosciences. (List)

The process is:

  • article submitted

  • posted as discussion paper after initial approval by an editor

  • reviews & responses posted publicly, with third parties able to post uninvited reviews

The system still works on individual not collective reviews, but the fact that they're public potentially allows them to build on issues raised by each other, and I can't see an obvious reason they wouldn't accept a review contributed by a group.

2

Elife is a relatively new, high-impact (8-9 Impact Factor if that's important for you) life science journal that does something along these lines:

Reviewers get together online to discuss their recommendations, refining their feedback, and striving to provide clear and concise guidance. If the work needs essential revisions before it can be published, the Reviewing editor incorporates those requirements into a single set of instructions.

I have heard from authors/reviewers that this review procedure often works well (but it is not perfect and has its own disadvantages). Elife also has other interesting features, I recommend looking in their website.

  • Many thanks for this - I had heard of eLife but didn't know any of these details. – arboviral Sep 9 '16 at 12:47

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