Who can become a Peer in Peerage of Science?
Only scientists who have published a peer reviewed scientific article in an established international journal as first or corresponding author
will be validated as Peers, and can access and review manuscripts submitted by others to the service. Basically anyone who gets an invitation from someone who is already a Peer, can register as a user of the service. However, registering does not yet mean access to manuscripts; this is possible only after service administration has checked the identity and qualifications of the user. For information on how to get an invitation, see here
How do I become a Peer in Peerage of Science?
Access to Peerage of Science is for invited scientists only – but anyone considered a scientist by another scientists can get an invitation. Invitation gives you access to the service (a username and a password), but does not yet make you a Peer. Before you get the right to access and review manuscripts, and to invite your colleagues in, our service administration will check your identity and qualifications. How to get an invitation?
Does the word "Peerage" signal that you want to be an elitist, closed group of privileged insiders wielding un-democratic power, like the hereditary aristocracy?
No! By definition, "Peers" are people equal to each other, and we consider anybody doing science a Peer, hence entitled to join this "Peerage" (see above).
If so many scientists can see my unpublished manuscript, isn't there a greater risk of my results getting stolen?
No, the risk is smaller than in the current system! Think about it: if a large number of scientists in your field (including many journal editors) have witnessed a result sent to Peerage of Science, it is very difficult for anyone to even submit, let alone publish, that result as their own without many people noticing. This is one of the reasons why, for example in physics and mathematics, most results are sent to pre-print servers like arXiv.org before they are sent to peer review. Peerage of Science achieves similar protection without having to publish your un-reviewed manuscript under your name. Authors also have the option of explicitly excluding up to ten Peers from seeing the manuscript. In addition, Peerage of Science does log all activities, facilitating investigation of any suspected scientific misconduct.
Will anonymity and free choice encourage people to write purposefully biased reviews to support or attack a manuscript?
Many features in Peerage of Science prevent this. First, Peers cannot even access, let alone review, manuscripts written by previous co-authors from past three years, or by colleagues in the same institution, so conspiracies are quite difficult to form. Second, peer-review-of-peer-review (see overview
of the peer review process) makes such behavior unfruitful and risky. Other Reviewers will notice the bias and give that review low scores in review evaluation; the Editors will not give much weight to the review when considering publication of the manuscript, and the same effort could have been spent writing a review one could proudly publish. Also, Peers are encouraged to report any suspicions of scientific misconduct, in which case an investigation board which has access to system logs is formed.
Why would journals be interested in publishing manuscripts that have already been seen by so many scientists, and does this not violate the "no prior publication" -term most journals have?
Quite the contrary, the publishing journal will only benefit from the pre-publication advertisement the work has received in Peerage of Science! You have to remember that no one can cite a manuscript; the work becomes citable science only after it is published. In the best case, the scientific community is anxiously waiting for the paper to come out. What could be a greater situation for the journal – or the Authors! Note also, that only the first version of a manuscript is visible to everyone in Peerage of Science; as soon as the actual peer-review starts the process can be accessed only by Authors, Reviewers engaged in that particular manuscript, and Editors. The revised version is also accessible only to this small group of people. In addition, users explicitly consent to a non-disclosure agreement concerning the manuscript and the reviews every time they access a new process, which is in force until the content is published.
I am not interested in publishing in any of the participating journals – why would I submit my manuscript?
First of all, you will not be restricted to publishing in the participating journals (see list of participating journals
). Once the peer review process is completed, Authors can create a temporary user account with an access to that particular peer review process. When submitting to a non-participating journal of their choice, Authors can inform the Editor of that journal about the peer reviews in Peerage of Science (e.g., in the cover letter), and include a username and password the Editor can use to access the reviews. This is likely to speed up your publication process. Second, by getting your manuscript peer reviewed first in Peerage of Science, and then submitting to a non-participating journal with a, link to those reviews included, you will help to attract that journal to join.
There are not many Peers from my field in Peerage of Science – why would I submit a paper if there is no one to review it?
The roots of the initiative are in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Conservation Biology. This can be seen in the fields represented among the Peers and participating journals. But Peerage of Science wants to serve you as well, no matter what field of science you represent. You can help make this happen: invite your colleagues to join, and encourage them to invite their colleagues, and so on. Expanding in social networks, participation in your field can quickly grow so that there is soon many unaffiliated Peers available to peer review your manuscript. And if you and others from you field use the service actively, by submitting manuscripts, reviewing manuscripts, and including a link to Peerage of Science reviews in papers you submit, you will get the journals in your field interested too.
Is Peerage of Science a for-profit company?
Yes. However, generating profit is not the primary purpose of the company, and Peerage of Science does not and will not charge fees from scientists. Revenue for Peerage of Science comes from other organizations that want to purchase the peer review service to use in their decision-making, such as publishers, funding organizations, and universities.