Peer review practices differ substantially between journals and disciplines. This study presents the results of a survey of 322 editors of journals in ecology, economics, medicine, physics and psychology. We found that 49% of the journals surveyed checked all manuscripts for plagiarism, that 61% allowed authors to recommend both for and against specific reviewers, and that less than 2% used a form of open peer review. Most journals did not have an official policy on altering reports from reviewers, but 91% of editors identified at least one situation in which it was appropriate for an editor to alter a report. Editors were also asked for their views on five issues related to publication ethics. A majority expressed support for co-reviewing, reviewers requesting access to data, reviewers recommending citations to their work, editors publishing in their own journals, and replication studies. Our results provide a window into what is largely an opaque aspect of the scientific process. We hope the findings will inform the debate about the role and transparency of peer review in scholarly publishing.
The authors received no specific funding for this work.
Human subjects: Both surveys were reviewed and approved the University of Melbourne's Faculty of Science Human Ethics Advisory Group (Project ID: 1954490.1) prior to distribution. All participants were provided detailed information about the purpose of the study, and informed that information on routine peer review policies and practices at their journal, as well as their views on some publication ethics issues were going to be collected. Informed consent was obtained from participants prior to beginning each survey.
- Peter Rodgers, eLife, United Kingdom
- Received: September 11, 2020
- Accepted: November 18, 2020
- Accepted Manuscript published: November 19, 2020 (version 1)
© 2020, Hamilton et al.
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