It is not only open access publishing of scientific journals that is increasing in popularity but also open peer review.
It is no longer only the question of research publications which ought to be open access. There are voices saying that also the peer review process should be open. This became very clear when John Bohannon published his article Who’s afraid of Peer Review? for about a year ago. In the article attacks the peer review process of open access journal. There are many who were critical of the article but it gave the idea of open peer review process wind to its sail.
Since then some journals, e.g. PeerJ, made the peer review process a part of publications. Post-publication peer review has also become more accepted. This means that an article is published and then reviewed by readers who comment on the article. This started when bloggers started to write public reviews of articles, which were of interest to them. Publishers like PLoS and BioMed Central to the idea further and made it possible for their users to leave comments. This process got only a moderate acceptance
PubPeer is a site where articles with DOI can be commented. PubPeer then sends feedback to the author so that the author knows how his/her article is discussed. PubMed Commons is a platform for PubMed. They invite researchers to review certain articles and comments are not anonymous. By inviting commentators there is a possibility for PubMed to limit non-experts’ possibilities to comment.
Other systems such as e.g. Open Review allow open review. There are those who mean that these different platforms will lead to a fragmented system – it will be difficult to know where to find information about a publication. The blog Retraction Watch shows that there is a need for more transparent review process. The future will show if this way of commenting and chatting about a scientific paper is the right way to go. Will younger researchers – who have grown up commenting their friends’ pictures and videos on social media – implement a similar communication process in their research?