What do Spanish researchers think about Open Peer Review?

Por Ernesto Spinak

The state agency Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) is the largest public institution dedicated to research in Spain and the third in Europe. Since 2010, it has been conducting surveys among Spanish scientists on the perceptions and participation in open access, on the preservation of research data, and this year, it conducted a survey on the degree of acceptance of open peer review (OPR). This activity is correlated to the OpenAire2020 project funded by the European Commission.

In February 2018, the CSIC’s Digital Technical Workshop launched this survey to analyze the habits, preferences and opinions of CSIC researchers when it comes to conducting peer review and being peer reviewed. The interest of this survey lies in the growing international debate on open access that affects, among many things, the assessment models and scientific impact indicators. This survey aimed to carry out an initial analysis of researchers’ attitudes and experiences regarding open reviews, a practice that has been increasing slowly but steadily in recent years, driven by Open Science movements. The results, which were very revealing, were published in a 25-page report1, available in open access.

The questionnaire was answered by 158 CSIC researchers, and considered 15 types of questions, among which we highlight:

  1. Age range of the interviewees, to measure the stage of their career and their productivity;
  2. Research areas – Human and Social Sciences; Biology/Biomedicine; Agrarian Sciences; Physics, Chemistry, etc.;
  3. Activity carried out regarding scholarly communication: editor, author, reviewer, etc.;
  4. Degree of satisfaction with the current system;
  5. Degree of acceptance of open evaluations.

The interviewees positively valued the changes that would bring about the reform of the current peer review system, although there were also some opinions that were cautious due to possible conflicts of interest, possible reprisals, and the risks arising from objectivity and/or critical spirit of reviews.

Following is a summary of the results:

60,0% Claim to be beneficial to publish the reviews as they provide additional information and improve the quality of the articles
50,0% Agree with the openness of the reviewers’ identities, as it helps reducing conflicts of interest
54,0% Are satisfied with the dominant peer review system
88,6% Believe that peer review activity should be considered in the evaluation of scientific productivity

 

Although the “double-blind” evaluation method is the preferred option, there is also room for other options:

83,5% Would not avoid publishing in a journal that adopts open peer review
74,1% Are in favor of extending peer review to all types of research results

 

The responses suggest that there is widespread support for the current peer review systems, but voices in favor of more open systems are significant and difficult to ignore.

The problem to overcome is that scientists are aware of the international debate on peer reviews, but there is a relative lack of knowledge about specific initiatives that encourage open reviews and that value the peer review activity. Only a minority were familiar with Publons or initiatives that promote open review models, open access repositories, etc.

Note

1. BERNAL, I., ROMÁN-MOLINA, J and OFICINA TÉCNICA DE DIGITAL.CSIC. Informe de la encuesta sobre evaluación por pares y el módulo “Open Peer Review” de DIGITAL.CSIC [online]. DIGITAL.CSIC. 2018 [viewed in 29 August 2018]. Available from: http://digital.csic.es/bitstream/10261/167425/3/encuesta_DC_peer_review_oprm_2018.pdf

References

BERNAL, I., ROMÁN-MOLINA, J. and OFICINA TÉCNICA DE DIGITAL.CSIC. Informe de la encuesta sobre evaluación por pares y el módulo “Open Peer Review” de DIGITAL.CSIC [online]. 2018 [viewed in 29 August 2018]. Available from: http://digital.csic.es/bitstream/10261/167425/3/encuesta_DC_peer_review_oprm_2018.pdf

OFICINA TÉCNICA DE DIGITAL.CSIC and BERNAL, I. Percepciones y participación en el acceso abierto en el CSIC: Informe sobre la Encuesta de Digital.CSIC para investigadores [online]. DIGITAL.CSIC. 2010 [viewed in 29 August 2018]. Available from: http://digital.csic.es/handle/10261/28543

ROMÁN-MOLINA, J., BERNAL, I. and OFICINA TÉCNICA DE DIGITAL.CSIC. Prácticas en la gestión, difusión y preservación de datos de investigación en el CSIC [online]. DIGITAL.CSIC. 2014 [viewed in 29 August 2018]. Available from: http://digital.csic.es/handle/10261/92404

External links

CSIC <http://www.csic.es/>

OpenAIRE <https://www.openaire.eu/>

Publons <https://publons.com/home/>

 

About Ernesto Spinak

Collaborator on the SciELO program, a Systems Engineer with a Bachelor’s degree in Library Science, and a Diploma of Advanced Studies from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain) and a Master’s in “Sociedad de la Información” (Information Society) from the same university. Currently has a consulting company that provides services in information projects to 14 government institutions and universities in Uruguay.

 

Translated from the original in Spanish by Lilian Nassi-Calò.

 

Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

SPINAK, E. What do Spanish researchers think about Open Peer Review? [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2018 [viewed ]. Available from: https://blog.scielo.org/en/2018/08/29/what-do-spanish-researchers-think-about-open-peer-review/

 

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