When we consider traditional peer review methodologies such as a single-blind or double-blind peer review, we are discussing types of closed peer reviews.
As described in the articles linked to above, either the author – or both author and reviewer – are ‘closed off’ from each other, meaning they have no way of identifying each other.
The open peer review method turns that on its head; instead the author, reviewer and wider population are visible to each other and all parties are involved.
In this article, we are going to discuss the open-peer review process in more detail.
What is an open peer review?
An open peer review is a method of peer review where the identities of both author(s) and reviewer(s) are made available to each other. In some additional cases, a select wider community can view communications and even get involved themselves.
The three modifications of the open peer review are:
- Open Identities – Author(s) and reviewer(s) are aware of each other’s identities
- Open Reports – Reports and the history of communications are made publicly available alongside the published paper.
- Open Participation – As well as the reviewer(s), the wider community are invited to participate in the peer review process.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Peer Review
There are both pros and cons to open peer reviews; let’s have a look at them:
One of the main advantages of open peer review is to encourage open and constructive feedback and criticism of a paper. Compare this with a closed peer review, where feedback is anonymous which can encourage harsh or overly-critical feedback.
When feedback is made public in the form of published reviewer comments, or open participation peer reviewing, it can help promote constructive criticism for the advancement of education.
Where open reviews allows the wider community to participate, it can also be deemed as a popularity contest.
Authors that have a wider network and more influence, are likely to see more participation in their work being reviewed compared to their peers.
Open-Peer versus Closed-Peer Reviews?
It’s hard to see disadvantages in open peer review. If somebody has a wide network, it is either related to its real value, or it has been inflated through some kind of closed system (see the example of money).
Either way, openness should bring a balance to the discussion of ideas that concern us all.
This is what we are implementing at Alethes.net.