Next steps for preprint review infrastructure | Naomi Penfold, Feb 7, 2023 | Invest in Open Infrastructure
peter.suber's bookmarks 2023-02-08
"...This meeting brought together preprint review initiative leads with funders, publishers, and researchers to discuss policies and practices that could encourage the adoption and development of preprint review in biology. There are different views on the future for preprint review: as a replacement for journals, a complement to the existing system, and/or a training exercise to grow and diversify the reviewer pool. Overall, this meeting highlighted the opportunity to use preprints to build a more collegial and constructive culture of peer review (than that typically experienced at journals). While the focus of the meeting was on policies and practices to encourage the adoption of preprint review, including how to incentivize researchers to contribute reviews, we noted some specific needs and gaps to consider in relation to investing in open infrastructure: Efforts to encourage adoption need funding. As well as investing in the technical infrastructure enabling preprint review, we heard the call for funders to support initiatives that encourage scholars to try out preprint review, and that nurture the envisaged culture of collegiality. This support could be provided directly by funders through programmes for the scholars they fund and indirectly through investment in adoption-focussed projects by initiatives. In particular, in this nascent phase of preprint review, now is an opportune moment to fund initiatives focussed on improving diversity and inclusion in the scholarly communications process. Preprint servers will need to evolve alongside preprint review initiatives to support a seamless experience for scholars. If preprint review is to be seen as a trusted and valuable contribution, and something worthwhile for researchers to read and use, it will be important to communicate its value clearly from the points at which researchers interact with preprints. Major points of interaction today are through two of the largest preprint servers for the life sciences, bioRxiv and medRxiv. We heard several users report how preprint reviews are not easy to find on the current site design, and that the banner on each preprint stating it has not been reviewed can be misleading. The banner text for preprints that have received reviews has recently been updated to read “This is a preprint. It has not been certified by a journal but peer reviews are available”. We also heard the rationale behind current design decisions at bioRxiv. We think it will be important for preprint server(s) and review services to continue to improve their user experience and design to meet the evolving needs of users. Several technology requirements for preprints as a whole, including review services, have already been noted. Drawing upon the ethos of open source development here, it may be helpful for preprint infrastructure funders to nurture an ecosystem that centers the needs of a diverse research community in design processes. It’s too early for preprint review initiatives to have a plan for financial sustainability...."
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