We encourage greater recognition of the work carried out by reviewers, by both publishers and employers. All publishers need to have in place systems for recording and acknowledging the contribution of those involved in peer review.
There is an expectation that researchers will contribute to sustaining the peer review system by participating as reviewers. This is predominantly without financial or formal recognition, except for members of editorial boards (or grant review panels). [Peer review] is rarely acknowledged as part of the formal workload of an academic researcher.
Dr Smith added: not only do scientists know little about the evidence on peer review but most continue to believe in peer review, thinking it essential for the progress of science. Ironically, a faith based rather than an evidence based process lies at the heart of science.
54. COPE, however, noted that: lack of evidence of efficacy is not the same as saying there is evidence that it does not work. Peer review is difficult to study, partly because its functions have not always been clearly defined.
We conclude that pre-print servers can be an effective way of allowing researchers to share and get early feedback on preliminary research. The system is well established in the physics community, and works particularly well, co-existing with more traditional publication in journals.
The principles of openness and transparency in open peer review are attractive, and it is clear that there is an increasing range of possibilities. There are mixed results in terms of acceptance amongst researchers and publishers, although some researchers are keen to see greater transparency in their fields.
Dr Malcolm Read explained in more detail why making software code available can be difficult:
... if you are talking about stuff running on so-called super-computers, you have to know quite a lot about the machine and the environment it is running on. It is very difficult to run some of those top-end computer applications, even if, of course, they are prepared to make their code available.
He added that the way to get around this problem was to ensure that authors
"make clear the nature of the program they are running and the algorithms"
Other more informal approaches, such as the use of online blogs and social networking tools like Twitter, are becoming more widespread. Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, told us that:
Web-based publishing brings new opportunities, because it brings the opportunity
for post-publication peer review and for bloggers to comment.
While post-publication review and commentary can be used to further improve the technical assessment of published research, it can also be utilised to fulfil another one of the functions of peer review: to filter research publications and act as a guide for what readers might find interesting.
We are impressed by the success of PLoS ONE and welcome the wider growth of quality online repository journals. These will accelerate the pace of research communication and ensure that all work that is scientifically sound is published.
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El Dr. Smith es el de PhD comics, ¿no?
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