Peer review is a process designed to assess the quality, originality, and validity of authors/writers research and work such as pre-clinical or clinical study reports, research reports, and manuscripts submitted for publication in journals etc. It plays a significant role in the publication process to maintain the reliability of the work reported in the documents. As per prospective of a publisher’s, peer reviewer acts as a filter that produces good content with high-quality article or manuscripts, which automatically increase the quality and reliability of the journals. In this way, publishers consider peer review as a robust part of the publication. Including this, innovation in peer review is necessary with time in term of implementation of new technologies to enhance the quality of the peer review process.


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There are three types of peer review followed during the peer review process (Figure 1): 

  • Single-blind: This is a prevalent and traditional type among science journals. In this review, the author does not know who will go to review his /her document, while the reviewer knows about the author.
  • Double-blind: This type of review is the most common amongst humanities journals and social science. In this type, both the reviewer and author are blinded to each other.
  • Open review: In this type, both the reviewer and author know to each other. This peer review is growing among the journals, but it is not much popular than other types of peer review. 

From all types of peer review, the single-blind and double-blind are most popular and commonly used by the journals. Table 1 displays the pros and cons of all three types of peer reviews.

Table 1:Pros and Cons of Each Peer Review Type

PeerReview Types

Pros

Cons

Single-blind

  • Prevent interference of authors in the reviewing process


  • Allows reviewer to use knowledge of the author from their previous publish research

  • After reviewing, the author may criticize the reviewer comments which delay the publication process

  • Knowing the author quality from previous work, some review ignore the quality of the current article, which decreases the publication quality of the journal

Double-blind

  • Prevention of bias towards the author


  • Reviewer focuses only on the content and works rather than the reputation of the author based on previous work

  • Reviewer also judge the authors as per their area of research, writing or reference style which can also interfere with the quality of work

  • Without author identity, the reviewer cannot do any informed judgment, which can also delay the publication of the submitted document

OpenReview

  • Transparency of this review encourages the civility and accountability, which improve the quality of the review article


  • Reviewers get motivation when their comments are accepted and become part of the publication

  • Sometimes reviewers may not accept the open system of the journal and refuse the review process. As they fear negative comments about their review

  • It encourages the biases in the review process towards the known author


Innovation in Peer Review Process

Any innovation or advancement in a peer review process generally requires for identification of roadblocks. The innovation in peer review can vary from utilizing advances technology to make required editorial changes to update the existing peer review processes. For this, there are the various results-driven groups in the scientific fraternity who provide following innovative ideas for peer review:

  • Introducing “Volunpeers”: Reviewer declines to review some research articles due to lack of expertise in the respective areas. Therefore, the identification of expert reviewer has become a challenging situation for the publishers. To avoid this challenge, a journal of molecular biology has implemented the reviewer recognition platform, which is known as Volunpeers. With this platform, the reviewer can register on the journals with their area of expertise and receive manuscript accordingly for review. Figure 2 presents the positive effect of volunpeers on the peer review process.

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  • Reviewers-index: High-quality reviewers provide the best visibility and value to the articles or manuscript. Appreciation must be necessary from the publisher end for their valuable efforts which further add more quality and efficiency to the next peer review. Due to the lack of recognition time of useful reviewers, often produce a huge dampener to review quality. For this, a reviewer-index (R-index) is emerged to check the quality and level of contribution of the reviewer and R-index provides a score from 0 to 1. It also increased the quality, the productivity of reviewer, and transparency in the scientific community.
  • Expediting the Peer Review Process: To provide high-quality review work, the reviewer takes much time which elongates the reviewing process. For this, the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery introduced the following steps to speed-up the peer review process:
    • Automated weekly reminder to editors
    • Deadline for peer review
    • Reminder emails sent to the editor for check the backlog
  • Refining the Peer Review process: Manuscript quality depends upon the identification of the errors during the editing and reviewing process. For this, a common trend of errors check during the review process are the figure, author, result, references style, tables, word, sentence formation, code, clarification, typo errors, equation, etc. These errors recognized by novel mistake index, i.e., Mistake Index Total (MIT) and Mistake Index Paper (MIP) during submission to the journal. Therefore, MIT and MIP based guideline shared with the reviewer to refine the review process to reduce the errors and produce a quality manuscript in less time.

Undoubtedly, peer review is an essential part of the publications to provide high-quality articles or manuscript which maintain or increase the brand value of journal in the form of quality. Innovation is an essential component which refines and increases the quality of review process, for this, some journals have implemented few innovative platforms such as volunpeers, R-index, and novel mistake index to reduce the peer review time, increasing the quality and reliability of the submitted manuscripts or research articles.

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