Peer-reviewed preprints: Benefits and limitations for young Indian researchers – International Science Council

“In-group discussions that followed brought to light several observations on challenges and opportunities in the current publishing system:

Open peer review can be advantageous, particularly when the contents of the reviewer reports are made public while respecting the privacy of reviewers’ identities due to potential conflict of interest. This approach helps distribute the reviewing workload and allows experts to review papers within their specific areas of expertise.

The practice of preprint publishing is subject-specific: in physics and mathematics, it is customary to publish the preprints beforehand to invite comments and suggestions, but in applied areas such as agriculture, biomedical, or other fundamental areas like chemistry and biology, sharing preprints is seen as risky due to potential scooping.

Preprints are not considered for promotions, funding, and appraisal. However, preprints usher productivity in some situations as this is a medium of quick dissemination of information among peers.

At the same time, the papers already available in the public domain may face challenges in getting accepted in a journal. The journals that run on subscription models may have severe reservations about publishing preprinted work.

Misconduct regarding reviewing should also be considered, as anybody can post harsh or biased comments, which might affect the spirit and zeal of many early-career researchers. 

Suggestions to popularize preprint services include uploading preprints only when the manuscript is ready for publication and promoting the concept of overlay journals. We must encourage young researchers to adopt innovative publication methods and foster collaborations with scholars worldwide to implement new publishing systems.

In the context of India, the new University Grant Commission (UGC) guidelines allow preprints to be considered for awarding doctoral degrees. Existing policies governing the publication system need to be revised, accounting for the value of Open Access, and peer-reviewed preprints, which allow wider dissemination of research findings while maintaining rigorous peer review.

A shift towards a more inclusive and transparent publishing model can promote accessibility and accelerate the progress of scientific knowledge, but we need to address the challenges of educating the public and researchers about the limitations of preprints….”

A Targeted Review of Open Practices in Special Education Publications – Bryan G. Cook, Wilhelmina van Dijk, Isabel Vargas, Susan M. Aigotti, Jesse I. Fleming, Sean D. McDonald, Cassidi L. Richmond, Lindsay M. Griendling, Alan S. McLucas, Rachelle M. Johnson, 2023

Abstract:  Open practices, such as preregistration, registered reports, open materials, open data, open analytic code, replication, open peer review, open access, and conflict-of-interest and funding statements, support the transparency, accessibility, and reproducibility of research and other scholarship. The purpose of this review was to examine the prevalence of these open practices in the special education literature. We reviewed a randomly selected sample of 250 articles published in special education journals in 2020. Results indicated that conflict-of-interest and funding statements were present in most articles; a small but meaningful proportion of articles provided open materials and were open access; and preregistration, registered reports, open data, open analytic code, open peer review, and replication were rarely or never observed. Recommendations for researching and supporting the use of open practices in special education scholarship are provided.


Habits and perceptions regarding open science by researchers from Spanish institutions | PLOS ONE

Abstract:  The article describes the results of the online survey on open science (OS) carried out on researchers affiliated with universities and Spanish research centres and focused on open access to scientific publications, the publication process, the management of research data and the review of open articles. The main objective was to identify the perception and habits of researchers with regard to practices closely linked to open science and the scientific value added is that offers an in-depth picture of researchers as one of the main actors to whom this transformation and implementation of open science will fall. It focuses on the different aspects of OS: open access, open data, publication process and open review in order to identify habits and perceptions. This is to make possible an implementation of the OS movement. The survey was carried out among researchers who had published in the years 2020–2021, according to data obtained from WoS. It was emailed to a total of 8,188 researchers and obtained a total of 666 responses, of which 554 were complete, the rest being forms with some questions unanswered. The main results showed that open access still requires the diffusion of practices and services provided by the institution, as well as training (library or equivalent service) and institutional support from the competent authorities (vice rectors or equivalent) in specific aspects such as data management. In the case of data, around 50% of respondents stated they had stored data in a repository, and of all the options, the most frequently given was that of an institutional repository, followed by a discipline repository. Among the main reasons for doing this, we found transparency, visibility of data and the ability to validate results. For those who stated they had never stored data, the most frequent reasons for not having done so were privacy and confidentiality, the lack of a mandated data policy or a lack of knowledge of how to do it. In terms of open peer review, participants mentioned a certain reticence to the opening of evaluations due to potential conflicts of interest that may arise or because lower-quality content might be accepted in order to avoid conflicts. In addition, the hierarchical structure of senior researcher versus junior researcher might affect reviews. The main conclusions indicate a need for persuasion of OA to take place; APCs are an economic barrier rather than the main criterion for journal selection; OPR practices may seem innovative and emerging; scientific and evaluation policies seem to have a clear effect on the behaviour of researchers; researchers state that they share research data more for reasons of persuasion than out of obligation. Researchers do question the pathways or difficulties that may arise on a day-to-day basis and seem aware that we are undergoing change, where academic evaluation or policies related to open science, its implementation and habits among researchers may change. In this sense, more and better support is needed on the part of institutions and faculty support services.


Embracing Open Science: A Pathway to an Inclusive and Collaborative Society – Open and Universal Science (OPUS) Project

“Transitioning to an open science society is a collective effort that requires the involvement of researchers, policymakers, institutions, and the public. By embracing open access publishing, sharing research data and code, promoting open collaboration, adopting open educational resources, encouraging open review and pre-registration, and advocating for open science policies, we can create a more inclusive, transparent, and collaborative scientific landscape. Embracing open science has the potential to revolutionize research, accelerate scientific discoveries, and address global challenges more effectively. Let us work together to pave the way towards an open science society and unlock the true potential of scientific knowledge for the betterment of humanity.”

Webinar – Shaping the Future of Scholarly Communication: The Role of Preprint Peer Review – OASPA

“This webinar will provide an overview of the preprint peer review landscape and different preprint peer review services.

The session will introduce preprints, how the preprint landscape has evolved to include peer review and why this is important to researchers, the advancement of science and to the adoption of preprints. Each preprint peer review service will describe their services and unique offerings before opening up to a 30 minute Q&A session moderated by ASAPbio.

The webinar will be chaired by Jonny Coates (ASAPbio). We welcome our panellists: Lesley Anson (Science Colab), Stefano M. Bertozzi (Rapid Reviews), Thomas Guillemaud (Peer Community In), Sara Monaco (Review Commons, EMBO) and Daniela Saderi (PREreview)….”

Benefits of Reading Open Peer Reviews · OpenISU

“Open peer review is the practice of making peer review reports, signed or unsigned by the reviewer, publicly available online…

This short post will outline the benefits I have found in regularly reading open peer review reports. It is my hope that the practice will continue to become more widespread, both in terms of reviewers posting their reports, but also readers making use of this new source of information in the publications they choose to read.”

SciELO – Brasil – Some remarks on peer review and preprints Some remarks on peer review and preprints

“Critical reading, suggestion of improvements and red flagging of manuscripts in open repositories are actions that every scientist should naturally do regardless of formal invitation from an editor for ‘peer reviewing’. Certainly this ‘self-regulation’ act from scientists will reduce the burden on formal peer review system (e.g., journal invited peer review). Of course, a major change should occur in current academic set of reward and incentives for scientists both to publish and to review the work of others researchers.


To help accelerating these changes, scientific editors can do some actions to ameliorate the article publishing and peer review system:


a) Prioritise submissions already available in preprint server;


b) Start practicing the “open and non-anonymous peer reviewing of every submitted article”….”

Thieme launches new open access journal on sustainability and circularity | STM Publishing News

“Sustainability & Circularity NOW publishes latest research on benign molecules and materials, closed-loop, waste-free systems, and other actionable solutions to tackle global environmental crises. The new journal is the first open access publication with a multidisciplinary focus on sustainability and circularity in chemistry and beyond. Authors benefit from fast and professional crowd peer-review processes to publish and disseminate their research open access….”

Open peer review: pros and cons | SpringerLink

“Theoretically, the most objective review process would be the double-blind approach. However, currently, it is heavily undermined by the preprint publication, especially in disciplines such as mathematics or physics. It has been widely adopted by those researchers and demonstrated to improve the Altmetric scores and citations’ number [5]. Currently, preprint publication is increasingly adopted also in biology and medicine, especially after the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover, the double-blind process enforces the journal office to a scrupulous and time-consuming job to guarantee the blindness, not always reaching the goal. Lastly, smart reviewers can trace the authors, particularly in the context of highly specialized research fields. At present, many relevant journals in the biomedical area have adopted the single-blind approach….

As suggested by Teixeira da Silva [1], the OPR has several pros as the totally transparent process improves accountability and could results into a potential increase in the quality of reviews. However, we must consider the cons as well. One is the potential bias that may arise when the authors know who the reviewers are. Potential reviewers could refuse to review or, when they accept, being disclosed to the authors, may provide a less critical or more lenient review, especially if a young reviewer evaluates a manuscript coming from a prominent well-known research group. This can result into a loss of critical feedbacks potentially improving a manuscript, reducing the identification of errors and limitations. Second, the OPR obliges to a high technical quality of the reviews, in a context where reviewers, more and more overflowed by review requests, are volunteering their time and efforts. This could increase the bottleneck problem in the number of reviewers available, which is now the main concerns of Editors….”

ASAPbio Crowd preprint review 2023 sign-up form

“Following our activities the last two years, ASAPbio is running further preprint crowd review activities in 2023. Our goal is to provide an engaging environment for researchers to participate in providing feedback on preprints and support public reviews for preprints.

In 2023, we will be hosting three groups that will collaboratively review preprints in the disciplines below: 


Meta-research: Practices, policies & infrastructure on open science and scholarship e.g. preprints, open access, open education, research impact
Molecular and cellular neurobiology: focus on neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration
Computational neuroscience: Computational, theoretical and data-driven approaches in understanding brain function, neuroinformatics and bioinformatics
Cancer biology: Biochemical, molecular and cellular studies in relation to cancer…”

Crowd preprint review – ASAPbio

“While there is increasing interest in preprint review activities, the level of public commenting and reviewing on preprints remains low overall. To explore review modalities that may foster participation in preprint review, in 2021 ASAPbio started activities to facilitate public reviews on preprints inspired in the crowd review model pioneered by the journal Synlett. We coordinated a group of researchers who commented on cell biology preprints resulting in 14 public reviews – you can read more about last year’s trial here. We saw a high level of reviewer engagement, so we continued the activities in 2022, when we involved three groups focused on cell biology (bioRxiv preprints), biochemistry (bioRxiv preprints) and infectious diseases preprints in Portuguese from SciELO Preprints. Our activities resulted in 27 public reviews for bioRxiv preprints and 13 reviews for SciELO Preprints.

Motivated by the positive response, we will pursue further crowd preprint review activities in 2023, involving several groups lead by 2023 ASAPbio Fellows….”

Who Guards the Gates? Feminist Methods of Scholarly Publishing · IDEAH

“In this essay, we explore how digital publishing can intervene in these processes and serve as a form of feminist activism. We take as our focus the Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy (JITP), founded in 2011 to expand the perspectives and standpoints that count as scholarly knowledge production and provide graduate students with editorial experience. As three long-standing members of the journal’s editorial collective, we have firsthand knowledge of how JITP’s publishing methods were developed through debate, struggle, and dialogue, including many missteps and failures along the way. We argue that JITP’s collaborative knowledge practices of inclusive editorial governance, open access, and open peer review are fundamentally feminist, as they diversify scholarly voices and increase access to the material channels in and through which knowledge circulates. At stake in our reflective analysis is a broader claim that extends beyond the parameters of our work with one particular journal: that feminist digital publishing methods can expand what counts as knowledge production….”

For a paradigm shift in peer review, bold steps need to be taken | SpringerLink

“A recent editorial in La Radiologia Medica outlined some of the extraordinary changes that are taking place in both science and society at a global level, arguing that in order for science to progress in a sustainable fashion, a return to “fundamentals” is needed, including the importance of pivoting towards “open practices” [1]. Among the open practices available to journals is open peer review (OPR), in which peer review reports and/or the reviewers’ identities are openly published within or alongside published papers, thereby—at least in theory—stimulating greater openness and transparency. OPR has the potential to eliminate anonymity, confidentiality and biased selectivity while fortifying accountability, optimizing the speed of peer review, eliminating inconsistencies, and incentivizing better feedback [2]. OPR can also hold peer reviewers and editors accountable [3]. Despite these positive virtues, considerable variation in openness is displayed across several OPR models, as well as the fear of being criticized in public, even when one’s services are offered voluntarily [2, 3], possibly explaining why OPR is not more widely adopted by biomedical journals. For example, a recent analysis noted that only three of 82 assessed JCR-indexed orthopaedic surgery journals practiced OPR [4].

With such positive aspects, why are 97% of orthopaedic surgery journals [3] reluctant to adopt this “openness” model? Gaining an appreciation would allow for understanding the limits to its adoption more broadly in biomedical journals. To gain some insight, the OPR model of a medical journal ranked 16th in JCR (European Cells & Materials) was examined. Several papers carried the following Editor’s note: “There were no questions from reviewers for this paper, therefore there is no Discussion with Reviewers section.” Other papers had somewhat superficial comments by peers. Thus, OPR risks the exposure of no peer review having been conducted, or its superficiality, aspects that can undermine the integrity of the journal’s peer review process. How does Clarivate, the entity that assigns the prestigious JCR impact factor to biomedical journals, assesses the quality of OPR to ensure that it meets its quality criteria?…”