Peer-Review and Its Role in Scholarly Publishing

Posted April 24, 2021

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Peer-review is the fundamental aspect of academic publishing and scholarly communication. As the name implies, it’s a manuscript review process based on the evaluation by authors’ peers – other researchers or experts working within the same academic field. After the peer-review is completed, a manuscript can either be accepted for publishing in a journal, rejected, or ,sometimes, returned to the author with the referees’ notes for necessary corrections.

Although it might seem that peer-review is just a standard paper evaluation procedure, in reality, it concerns some of the key aspects of academic publishing. For example, the choice of peer-reviewers and editorial board may even influence the success and readership of the academic journal.

In this article, we are going to look deeper into the role of a peer-reviewer, see what responsibilities are involved in the peer-review process and learn how publishers work with peer-reviewers hand in hand.

Main Goals of Peer-Review

From the practical point of view, peer-review is indeed mostly focused on the evaluation of researchers’ manuscripts. The actual job of a peer-reviewer is to scrupulously read the paper submissions and provide constructive, valuable insights that would benefit not only the author but, in the long run, the publisher as well.

The peer-review process encompasses the following actions:

Types of Peer-review

There are several different ways to perform a peer-review, but the most standard review classification is based on the reviewers’ and authors’ anonymity status. Depending on the journal or, to be more specific, the journal’s peer-review policy, any of the following three peer-review types may be performed:

– Single-blind review: perhaps the most common one of all three review types. Single-blind review implies that the author’s identity is revealed to the reviewer not the other way around.

– Double-blind review: less popular but not so rare either – a peer-review method with both authors’ and reviewers’ identities hidden from each other.

– Open review: recently more and more growing in popularity, open peer review encourages transparent and open review process which means that both authors’ and reviewers’ names are revealed to each other.

Publishers and Peer-review: How the Two Are Connected

Peer-review is intended to serve and assist publishers by providing expert insights and ensuring that only high-quality manuscripts get a green light to be published. Therefore, it’s in the publishers’ interest to make the review process as smooth and efficient as possible for each participant of the publication cycle.

Publisher’s role in the peer-review process involves the organization, management and support of the process with the help of additional resources – online tools, management systems, and such. Online submission systems allow the publishers monitor the reviewers progress and other editorial activities. The use of modern communication systems has proven to save costs (e.g. postage and document handling) as well as time required for the entire peer-review process.

Electronic and online solutions offer benefits such as faster publication times, easier and smoother communication between the publisher, editorial board, and reviewers. The latest systems are even more advanced – with artificial intelligence integrations and sophisticated plagiarism detection tools that help the reviewers perform at their best.

 

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