For a long time, both preprint and post-publication commenting were seen as fringe activities, often derided as unprofessional, or used as a forum for lodging complaints. A study presented by Gabriel Costa at the International Congress on Peer Review (PRC), called Content Analysis of Comments on biRxiv and medRxiv Preprints, showed that most preprints get no comments, and of those that do, the average is 1.9 comments per preprint. Another study presented at the PRC by Tom Hardwicke, called Assessment of post-publication Critique Policies at Top-Ranked Journals, found that even though two-thirds of journals offer post-publication comments, only about two percent actually receive any critique.
Despite what these studies show about past behavior, pre and post publication commenting has been undergoing a revolution, with an increase in the number of organizations performing and using third-party peer review. The reputation and the utility of peer review performed outside of the journal setting has improved and there are now multiple providers of what is sometimes called “community peer review” offering various services targeted at different parts of the scholarly communications ecosystem, from preprint, to journal peer review, to post-publication commenting.
This Peer Review Week Webinar examined different types of community and third-party peer review services, and examined how community peer review, including pre-submission and post acceptance review, fit into the future of peer review. Our panel spoke about different services, the roles they are playing in the scholarly evaluation process, and how they can be integrated into publication processes.
Fiona Hutton, eLife Sciences
Monica Granados, PREreview
Boris Barbour, PubPeer
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