- Published on 24 June 2015
On 15 June 2015 EDP Sciences (Paris, France) have released information on the findings and recommendations of a working group into the peer review process. The meeting involved a committee of experts linked to the European Physical Journal (EPJ) including Editors-in-Chief, Associate-Editors, members of the Steering Committee and researchers involved in Scientific and Technical Information. EPJ itself, represents 25 European Physical Societies through its Scientific Advisory Committee.
The aim of the workshop held in Paris in May was to consider whether peer review is adapting to present day demands and constraints, and to consider and make recommendations to EPJ and their partners regarding new practices and improvements that could be made to their procedures.
The workshop firstly confirmed the value of in-depth, quality peer review as an essential part of maintaining the highest possible scientific standards. The huge improvements in availability of information online, only serves to further emphasize the need for this vital filtration service, managed by publishers.
There was consensus that the role of Learned Societies is critical, in not only ensuring transparent evaluation criteria, based on scientific quality and originality, but also in developing broader cultural, economic, technological, and social impact. They called upon Learned Societies to advocate The San Francisco Declaration of Research Assessment (DORA), within their relevant scientific communities.
Their findings also showed that the quality of refereeing was seen as an important factor in attracting authors to publish in EPJ. The workshop recommended that publication of significant reviewer reports alongside articles - once approval is received from the reviewer and author – would promote transparency of the process, give referees more recognition for their work, and provide a useful service to readers.
Finally, the workshop concluded that the concept of portable peer review – whereby previous referee reports are shared when an article is rejected and submitted to another journal – could represent significant improvements in service to the research community, by shortening processing times, and relieving workload pressures on reviewers.
Jean-Marc Quilbé President of EDP Sciences said “We are happy to be supporting EPJ with this initiative. Innovations around Peer Review generate a variety of models, and EDP Sciences will be implementing a number of the working group’s recommendations, including the publication of peer review reports.”
The quality check by the peer review process is indispensable and our reviewers are invaluable. EPJ reviewers receive recognition through a certificate, inclusion in the journal’s annual list of reviewers, and a complimentary book. We are constantly reviewing ways to acknowledge their contribution.
The findings of this workshop are likely to capture the attention of many editorial boards, and perhaps even encourage some of them to change their editorial procedures”.