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First Peerage of Science-reviewed paper published

Peerage of Science
25 Sep 2012

About 40 manuscripts have completed peer review in Peerage of Science. The obvious question is what happened to them after the peer review process? The answer is that the scientific publishing process outside Peerage of Science continues its slow pace with these manuscripts. While some manuscripts are withdrawn by authors due to strong reviewer critique even after the revision, most common fate for manuscripts is to linger in the traditional publishing process of non-participating journals. Given the novelty of Peerage of Science, editors often choose to still organise a full traditional peer-review with reviewers they choose themselves, in addition to the reviews available in Peerage of Science. And as you know, in an average journal that process takes at least 6-8 weeks, and often authors first choose to submit to journals with very high rejection rates.

But now Animal Biology, a zoology journal published by Brill, is about to print the first paper (that we know of) entirely peer reviewed by Peerage of Science peers. Animal Biology explicitly welcomes Peerage of Science reviews in traditional submissions, but does not yet send direct publishing offers via the service. In this case, the author submitted to Animal Biology as first choice, included a link to reviews in the cover letter, and got a fast turnaround time to decision. Joris Koene, the Editor-in-Chief of Animal Biology describes the process:

"Given that this was the first time that I was using the Peerage of Science service, I felt that I should ask for the identity of the reviewers, which were forwarded to me promptly. The quality of the reviews was overall very good and the comments had already greatly helped the author to improve the manuscript. Although the overall quality of the manuscript was good, from one of the evaluations it was obvious that I did need to ask that reviewer to have a second look at the manuscript. After another round of review with this one reviewer, these remaining issues were solved.

Clearly, given that the paper had already been reviewed via Peerage of Science by three persons, this saved me time in searching for and inviting suitable reviewers (which is becoming increasingly difficult). Having been provided the reviewers' identity helped me to verify their credentials. I might not have come up with the same reviewers as the ones that performed the Peerage of Science reviews, but they were definitely appropriate and very competent. Of course, I did not need to ask all of them to review the manuscript again. The latter is clearly a gain in efficiency because it prevents different journals from asking (the same) reviewers to review manuscripts that they may have already been asked for by other journals. After all, the reality is that manuscripts often pass more than one journal before being accepted somewhere (because authors aim for high impact while competition for space in good journals is fierce)."

Sam Bruinsma, Vice President for Business Development at Brill commented the process also: "We at Brill are very pleased to welcome the first paper entirely peer-reviewed through Peerage of Science in our journal Animal Biology. The paper will be published as an advanced article online next month. We have noticed that editors of our biology journals are amongst the first to have joined the Peerage of Science initiative, which provides benefits to authors, reviewers, editors and publishers alike. We invite others to join."

Congratulations to Animal Biology, and Brill, for being the visionary first to rely on openly engageable, peer-reviewed-peer-review. In a few weeks, when preprint of "Morph-specific and sex-specific temperature effects on morphology in the colour polymorphic damselfly Ischnura elegans" comes out online in Animal Biology, go ahead and read it.

By Peerage of Science Team

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