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End-of-Year Resources

Between the peer review Congresses, a group of publishers—commercial, society, and nonprofit—sponsor an ongoing website and an annual September Peer Review Week. Currently 29 “committee member” organizations are involved in the world-wide event. The 2018 event theme was “Diversity and Inclusion” in peer review. Expect advertising and see their website for the activities for 2016, 2017, and 2018 at https://peerreviewweek.wordpress.com/peer-review-week-2018/ .  A press release actually lists the people involved at https://peerreviewweek.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/prw-2018-press-release.pdf Like the 8th International Congress, the 2017 theme is transparency in peer review; the 2016 theme was “Credit for Peer Reviewing” (links available; while the inaugural event in 2015 is mentioned, no links exist to its theme or materials). Besides the ability to participate in a variety of examinations on the current topic on who and what should be transparent in peer review, the background materials provided at https://peerreviewweek.wordpress.com/activities/  make a good place to start for those interested.

As background to Peer Review Week, a useful introduction to the topic of transparency in peer review was published on the website of The Scholarly Kitchen at https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2017/08/03/transparent-peer-review-mean-important/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ScholarlyKitchen+%28The+Scholarly+Kitchen%29 .

Stephen Heard in his blog, “How (as an editor) I choose lists of reviewers”, provides insight into at least one associate editor’s workflow process and reasoning behind soliciting peer reviewers. Read it at https://scientistseessquirrel.wordpress.com/2018/12/20/how-as-an-editor-i-choose-lists-of-reviewers/ . Heard also blogged a few years ago on how to become a peer reviewer when you are an early career scientist. In another post shared with Timothée Poisot, called “Early career researchers make great peer reviewers. How can we get more of them?” (at https://scientistseessquirrel.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/early-career-researchers-make-great-peer-reviewers-how-can-we-get-more-of-them/ .), Heard describes ways to become such a reviewer.

I have mentioned more than once that peer review relies on the ethics of publication. Before 1980, reports of scientific misconduct were rarely circulated widely, but during the decade 1971 through 1981 twelve cases were reported among papers that had been through an editorial peer review process.  The U.S. Congress investigated then responded by passing law (99 Stat. 820, see https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/STATUTE-99/STATUTE-99-Pg820 ) to regulate the standards of scientific conduct (42 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR], Part 50, Subpart A, https://ori.hhs.gov/reg-sub-part-a ) , and the Office of Research Integrity was established by 1992 (following a series of agency consolidations) to implement the law and regulations as part of the National Institutes of Health in the Department of Health and Human Services. Note that the history of the agency is online at https://ori.hhs.gov/index.php/historical-background .

Note that the Office of Research Integrity has published and made openly available four guides on peer review, available on its website at https://ori.hhs.gov/peer-review-0 . These small handbooks cover peer review processes, authorship, a data analysis tool, and a manuscript guide for reviewers.

I will begin a series on ethics and scientific research in March 2019. In the meantime, the National Academies of Science have published a report, Fostering Integrity in Research, now available at file:///C:/Users/New/Documents/A&E/2017%20A&E/1217IntegrityResearch(1).pdf .

Next month we examine the costs of publication.

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