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Thursday, November 20 • 10:15am - 10:45am
Open peer review as educational resource

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Peer review is an important part of the scientific endeavor: it evaluates the scientific quality of research articles, it helps authors to improve the quality of their papers, and judges the validity of their work. Because it is considered as an indicator of careful scrutiny by peers it is also indispensable when weighing the claims made by the work in question. However, without proper access to these referee reports as scientists in training, young researchers face a daunting task when peer reviewing their first paper. This lack of transparency during the peer review process can lead to a self-perpetuating cycle of vicious refereeing, improper evaluation of science, and publication bias, ultimately affecting funding decisions, research directions and careers.

The availability of open access publications has already aided scientific education at undergraduate and graduate level by providing broad access to scientific literature. Some open access journals are now also making referee reports or correspondence with the editor publicly available. For example, eLife posts editorial decision letters for most of its papers; BMJ Open, all medical journals in the BMC series, Trials, GigaScience, and Biology Direct have all long been publishing reviewer reports once the article is accepted and published; and F1000Research publishes all referee reports and reviewer names alongside each paper as they come in.

The inclusion of referee reports with published articles opens up an important part of the peer review process: Referee reports often summarize the relevance of the paper, and put it in context within a broader field. Aside from benefits to authors and referees, such as reduced bias amongst referees and the ability to take public credit for writing referee reports, inclusion of referee reports with published articles adds to the arsenal of tools available to young scientists as they learn how to conduct peer review themselves – an important step in becoming valuable members of their scientific community.

As peer review is such an important process in assessing the validity of a piece of new research , writing good quality referee reports is one of the most important skills a young scientist can learn, enabling them to play a greater role in their community while developing critical thinking and writing skills. At F1000Research we are working on several projects aimed at improving education about peer review. For example, we've recently partnered with Sense about Science's peer review workshops in the UK and have begun talks with New York University staff and faculty to begin a pilot program to teach graduate students about peer review.

This session will present various examples of open peer review and how they can be used as effective educational tools to teach the next generation of scientists how to properly peer review research papers.

avatar for Eva Amsen

Eva Amsen

Outreach Director, F1000Research
avatar for Cesar Berrios-Otero

Cesar Berrios-Otero

Outreach Director, F1000
avatar for Erin McKiernan

Erin McKiernan

Professor, National Autonomous University of Mexico
Erin McKiernan, professor in the Department of Physics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, is a researcher in experimental and computational biophysics and neurophysiology, and an advocate for open access, open data, and open science. She is also the founder of Why Open Research? (whyopenresearch.org), an educational site for researchers. She blogs at emckiernan.wordpress.com. You can follow her on twitter at @emckiernan13.

Thursday November 20, 2014 10:15am - 10:45am

Attendees (41)