Developing teaching practice


Peer review is an essential part of academic publishing, yet many authors, reviewers, and editors have reportedly encountered problems with the review process. Some scholars view peer-review as a necessary process for the advancement of science, while other scholars argue that for many publishers and journals, both authors and reviewers are being exploited. The aim of this commentary is two-fold. First, to provide a narrative review of current perspectives and available research on the peer-review process to date, and second, to summarise potential solutions elicited from scholars on Twitter. A review of the literature identified several problems with peer-review including publication delays, an over reliance on a narrow pool of reviewers, threats to anonymity, perceived exploitation, as well as overworked editors. Recommendations to redress these issues that emerged from scholars on Twitter suggested publishers, journals, their editors and associate editors, universities, individual academics and their communities all have a role to play towards creating an equitable and fair system. This commentary aims to ignite conversations about improving the peer-review process.

Practitioner Notes

  1. Many scholars believe that the peer review system is sub-optimal.
  2. Research shows several problems with peer review such as publication delays, a deficit in suitable reviewers, and perceived exploitation amidst other challenges.
  3. The process of peer review may create inequities for those who are on insecure contracts or in the early stages of their academic career.
  4. Improvements to peer review may include creating incentives for reviewers and refining how reviewers are selected.
  5. Action is needed by publishers, journals, individual academics and academic communities, and universities to improve peer review to make the system fairer and more equitable.

Twitter Handle

@drkellyallen, @academicchatter, @DVSneuro, @EmilyRainsford, @ProfLucasWalsh