PEER-REVIEW MANIPULATION IN AN AUTHOR SUGGESTED REVIEWER MODEL
First of all I would like to congratulate you for successful publication of volume 2 for ‘Journal of Health Science Research’ and express my good wishes for new journal. I hope that this journal will become a valuable addition in existing health science related periodicals.
Recently, there is an exponential growth in number of journals and many new open access journals taking their birth. However, very few of them maintaining the quality of their contents and integrity of peer-review. The primary reasons of low quality contents includes; poor training, lack of resources, unequipped editors and violation of publication ethics. All these factors affect a fair peer-review which is the most important aspect of scientific publishing and regarded as gold standard for evaluation of academic research. It is the duty of journal editors to ensure a fair and comprehensive peer-review and take all possible major to ensure the integrity of peer-review in order to select the good quality articles.
Although the peer-review is the best available method to evaluate the quality of a research before its publication, but the peer-review can be manipulated by the authors, reviewers and even by the editors. This manipulation is more frequent in traditional single and double blinded peer-review model. The peer-review manipulation, in an author suggested reviewer model is also a critical concern for the journal editors. The editors should crosscheck the identity, specialization of reviewers and their relationships to the authors to ensure an unbiased peer-review. The study conducted by Kowalczuk et al. suggest that the reviewers suggested by authors are more often tend to recommend the acceptance of manuscript in comparison to the non-author-suggested reviewers, however the quality of peer-review was almost similar in both cases. The similar results were observed in another study conducted by Helton and Balistreri. Thus, the editors should take little extra care while making their decision based on author suggested reviewers. It is also reported that sometimes the authors creates a fake reviewer profile and provide them to the journals with names and e-mail addresses, as a result the review requests went directly to the author or his colleagues.
These manipulations can be avoided if the journal editors develop a large pool of qualified reviewers and use the author suggested reviewers with certain restrictions for example: a) having one or two journal’s reviewers in panel along with author’s recommendation, b) ask the author to send a link to profile page of reviewers etc. Further, most of the publishers now use online platform to conduct the peer-review. These platforms can be integrated with the researcher identification tools such as ORCID, loop profiles and Live DNA profile to confirm the identity of a reviewer.
As you are working with informatics which is a well known name in the area of information management and distribution through online platform thus these technical implementations would not be a cumbersome task for you. Once again I would like to express my best wishes for your new journal and I hope that this journal will maintain the high ethical and publishing standards.
- Manipulating the peer review process: why it happens and how it might be prevented. Available online: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2016/12/13/manipulating-the-peer-review-process-why-ithappens-and-how-it-might-be-prevented/ [Accessed on 10 Dec 2017]
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