loading page

Transparent Peer Review at Wiley: Two years on what have we learnt?  
  • +2
  • Elizabeth Moylan,
  • Kornelia Junge,
  • Candace Oman,
  • Elisha Morris,
  • Chris Graf
Elizabeth Moylan
Author Profile
Kornelia Junge
Author Profile
Candace Oman
Author Profile
Elisha Morris
Wiley
Author Profile
Chris Graf
Wiley
Author Profile

Abstract

In September 2018, Wiley began a collaborative pilot initiative with Publons and ScholarOne (part of Clarivate, Web of Science) to open up the peer review process by offering transparent peer review as an opt-out for authors on submission to a journal. If a journal article is published, then the peer reviewers’ reports, authors’ responses, and editors’ decisions accompany the published article. Reviewers also have the option to disclose their names alongside their reports but this is not mandatory.  We wanted to learn how the initiative was working and understand the effect of introducing transparent peer review in terms of journal turnaround times and willingness of reviewers to agree to review.  We present data from 27 journals across a range of subject disciplines that have participated in the pilot for at least six months. We compared our findings with 29 comparable 'control' journals that did not introduce transparent peer review for the same time period. By considering a total of 74160 submissions we measured changes both pre- and post- the introduction of transparent peer review. We found that on average 86% of authors remained opted-in to a transparent peer review process.  The majority of reviewers were willing to publish the content of their reports, however only 15% of reviewers agreed to sign their reports. Transparent peer review did not have an impact on journal turnaround times or the number of revisions authors made. However, editors had to invite more peer reviewers in order to secure a sufficient number of reviewers to agree to review an article, increasing editorial effort. Overall, these results suggest that transparent peer review is feasible across journals in different subject disciplines and is not detrimental to editorial decision times. We think that the benefits of introducing transparent peer review, in terms of  trust and accountability for the peer review process and recognition for the work of editors and reviewers, outweigh any practical concerns against it.