An Overview of Post-Publication Peer Review
- Lydia O’SullivanEmail Lydia O’Sullivan
- Lai Ma
- Peter Doran
The increasing demand for swift dissemination of research findings, combined with the drive towards transparency and open science has challenged the established approach to peer review in the journal publication system. Post-publication peer review (PPPR) takes place when an article is published before peer reviewers are sought, and takes a number of forms, including Letters to the Editor, blogs, social media and online platforms such as F1000 Research. Aside from the speed at which information can be shared with the research community, PPPR also has the potential advantage of facilitating a dynamic discussion between researchers and gaining insights from a wider range of contributors. While pre-publication peer review is still regarded as the ‘gold standard’, the merits of PPPR are increasingly being recognised. PPPR has the potential to enable dissemination, promote meaningful discussions and collaboration between researchers and be an efficient engine of open science. However, there remains some significant concerns that expedited publication without prior peer review may result in the dissemination of poor-quality data and findings from badly designed studies. Whilst this risk is also present in traditional prepublication peer review, it is heightened in its absence. This is particularly true where media can disseminate findings which have not yet been interrogated closely and distinction is not easily drawn between peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed findings. There is also the need for an integrated and accessible system so that both authors and readers can easily benefit from PPPR. This narrative literature review explores some of the platforms which facilitate PPPR in the field of academic publishing, including journals which carry out all of their peer review post-publication, Letters to the Editor/Commentaries and academic social networks.
- The changing landscape of scholarly publishing, including open science and preprint publications demands changes in peer review mechanisms including open peer review and post-publication peer review.
- Post-publication peer review enhances and encourages timely dissemination of research findings but can also be vulnerable to trolling and distribution of incomplete and inconclusive research findings.
- Post-publication peer review encourages good faith collaboration, especially for tackling crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, when every minute counts and when solving problems for common/public good are of utmost importance.
- Research evaluation policy should consider the contributions of post-publication peer review by, for example, establishing a verified reviewer system to acknowledge the contributions, which can overcome some unresolved problems and issues of open peer review.
- Submitted on 8 Aug 2020
- Accepted on 25 Oct 2021
- Published on 10 Nov 2021
- Peer Reviewed