I’m happy to announce PLOS’ participation in a new service, Review Commons, that will provide a platform for rapid, objective, journal-independent peer reviews for manuscripts and preprints. We are excited to be part of this initiative and to learn from our community’s response how we can rethink peer review to save authors’, reviewers’, and editors’ time and enhance transparency and objectiveness.
What it is
Created by ASAPbio and EMBO Press, Review Commons will organize a single round of journal-agnostic review for manuscripts in the life sciences submitted to the service. Upon receiving the reviews, the authors can decide to simply post them alongside their preprint on bioRxiv and/or to submit their manuscript — including reviews–to one of the 17 journals affiliated with Review Commons. If the chosen journal decides to proceed with the submission, it commits to not involve new reviewers unless a specific aspect of the article needs to be further evaluated.
All the PLOS journals within scope — PLOS Biology, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS ONE and PLOS Pathogens — will welcome submissions reviewed at Review Commons.
Saving researchers’ time and increasing transparency
Journal-independent portable review has the potential to accelerate and streamline the process of publishing. Authors can use their peer reviews to inform their journal selection and find the best fit for their work from the start. Because the reviews carry over to any affiliate journal, it will also reduce re-reviewing at multiple journals that currently imposes a large burden of duplicated activities across the scientific community (estimated at millions of hours of reviewer time each year).
But we also hope to learn about how authors, reviewers and editors approach peer review conducted outside of a specific journal context. It is not the first time that journal-agnostic peer review has been tried, but in this case the association with preprints provides a much better opportunity for transparency of the entire peer review process, and gives authors more control over how they share and contextualize their work.
The peer reviews provided by Review Commons can be posted on bioRxiv using the new functionality that the preprint server is unveiling today — TRiP (Transparent Review in Preprints) an annotation layer powered by hypothes.is dedicated to post reviews by a journal or peer-review service.
Your feedback is key
We are really eager to learn how journal-independent portable peer review changes the submission experience, and how peer reviews posted in real-time can enrich the preprints on bioRxiv and help authors refine their work. We’ll be monitoring the efficacy of the service so that we can share back the results and inform broader improvements to peer review.
We encourage you to explore the TRiP functionality on bioRxiv and to stay tuned for the opening of Review Commons in December!