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Editorial Snapshot: Publication before peer review — A new paradigm?

- C.C., Editor

In a previous issue of our newsletter, we discussed the increasing popularity of open access in academic publishing and the concerns associated with this trend. Today we will introduce another bold new paradigm for academic publishing that aims to tackle some of the same long-standing issues that open access aims to address. That is, the idea of post-publication peer review (PPPR).

As you are well aware, peer review is traditionally conducted prior to publication by invited reviews after a manuscript’s submission to an academic journal. The flaws of this traditional approach are well-known (some are discussed in this opinion piece), and include its lengthy nature, the possibility of bias, and conservatism, among other issues.

Platforms and non-traditional journals such as F1000Research have long been at the forefront of promoting this new paradigm which involves publication of research prior to review. Although some forms of PPPR involve invited review, it often includes aspects of open peer review, and proponents tout that it can increase transparency, facilitate speedier reviews (and retractions of bad science), and allow for real-time and continual review of and updates to published research over time (see also this review of PPPR).

Despite the potential for a long-awaited revolution in the peer review process, critics point out that there are potential flaws in PPPR, such as the potential for abuse. And while proposed solutions for these potential problems exist, the skepticism of the community and the fact that PPPR as yet lacks repute constitute hurdles to its more widespread adoption. Nevertheless, while some analysis has indicated that it is slow, there may be indeed be changes coming to peer review processes on the horizon.

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