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Ever got a paper rejected? And have you wondered whether the mysterious process behind the editors decision was fair and reliable? For many years.
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The results show that the correlation applies to the time that a referee spends in writing the report as well.

However, the same study revealed that there was not an effect on the quality of the review. On the one hand, the open system prevents reviewers from accepting the task -as outlined above. And on the other, lead those reviewers who accepted the work to modified their reports. According to Khan, it is clear that OPR produces an inferior outcome in both cases.

Scholarly peer review - Wikipedia

This article has mentioned that anonymity can also be a protective tool for junior researchers to save them from public humiliation because of their lack of experience, or conversely in the case of excellent research, anonymity may increase the possibilities that their work will be accepted. An OPR method, in which junior researchers are identified, may therefore put them to face uncomfortable situations or make their research object of disparagement.

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Khan argues that biases are not eradicated with OPR, perhaps because the reviewers are the same human beings. According to him, editors can ask for additional reviews, but if it is not feasible, blind-peer-reviewed journals can develop a robust system of appeal.


For him, OPR assumes that reciprocity has no role and it constitutes its main flaw. By studying literature about traditional BPR and OPR in both the legal and in STEM disciplines, I was able to build a general picture of the current state of the two methods of quality assessment in academic journals. At the same time, the comparison between the two methods pertaining to the substantive quality of scientific publications shows that the technical and social issues that have been experienced in legal publishing are common across the scientific disciplines. Hence, the solutions that have emerged in STEM disciplines -although not perfect- may inspire potential solutions in the legal domain.

Concurrently, some studies have shown that also some of the drawbacks of BPR can even have conceivably stronger effects e. Furthermore, some other problems still need more empirical evidence in each particular discipline e. Further research is imperative, and Latin-American law journals may be a suitable case of study for all the reasons that have been pointed out throughout this paper because the most representative Latin-American law journals use BPR.

A mixed quality-evaluation method that balances the pros and cons of both BPR and OPR methods could be the fairest alternative method to guarantee the transparency of the assessment process and the accountability of reviewers in currently blind-peer-reviewed law journals. In my view, providing authors and reviewers the choice of unmasking their identities could have positive effects. However, the design and implementation of trials by law journals may provide better insights into this arena.

The mechanisms and the criteria followed to select reviewers are also key determinants of transparency and accountability in the evaluation process of a publication. It is imperative to determine the rationale behind the lack of clear information available to authors regarding the process that blind-peer-reviewed law journals follow to select peers. Making the selection mechanisms and the criteria applied for selecting reviewers, as well as the list of reviewers per each area of law in which the law journal specializes, public -or at least available to authors- could contribute to building up a fairer evaluation method.

Especially, because in this way, it will be more difficult for editors to shape the quality evaluation of a manuscript by selecting evaluators according to their own preference or affiliation to specific theories or methods, one of the drawbacks of BPR indicated by Travis and Collins. The incentives for reviewers, as pointed out in this article, play a decisive role when determining what is the most suitable method for assessing an academic paper.

In the current blind method, the work of the reviewer is anonymous which makes it more of a burden to him due to the lack of reputational incentives. But, is the idea of a virtual repository attractive enough for reviewers? The training as an evaluator is also another aspect to consider in future research.

The expertise to review an intellectual work is often associated with the expertise in a specific field of knowledge. However, in practice, it becomes apparent that having experience in a scientific area does not imply being a good reviewer. Although academic journals offer guidelines to reviewers about how to evaluate a manuscript and the most diverse tips about how to be a high-quality reviewer may be found online, in reality reviewers are not trained for this role. Only the method of trial and error and the time elapsed between one and another attempt shape the capability of the evaluator as such.

However, in the trial and error exercise unethical and unfair situations can take place. The use of technology, such as virtual platforms and forums can make the process of evaluation shorter and more direct. In this way, the dialogue among peers may be established and with it an enriching experience of team-work. Additionally, involving the scientific community in an open evaluation through the Internet may contribute to detecting fraud quickly. This may be an exciting new research arena as it opens the possibility of finding new ways to protect the gate of legal scholarly publishing from erroneous or non-reliable research that the current blind method seems not to be able to avoid.

Finally, what to do when there are suspicions that the reviewer has followed non-substantive criteria in his decision-making? The proposal of an appeal action sounds attractive. In sum, it is urgent that legal scholars -in particular Latin-American ones- start engaging in the exploration of new ways to assure the transparency of the process of evaluation of academic legal publications and the accountability of the reviewers.

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In this way, the tool will be customized for the task; the scientific community can flourish and hopefully the quality of academic legal research can be enhanced. The ranking points out the best Latin-American law journals. All of them apply the double-blind method to assess the substantive quality of academic legal research. Micklitz and Edward L.

Scholarly peer review

It has been tested in the literature consulted. In almost all of the scientific articles, the STEM example is cited. Even prestigious journals are often unclear about the criteria these assessors should apply and to what extent the adversarial principle is applied to the exchange of arguments between authors and referees. Van Gestel n 2 ; Peruginelli Faro n 18 — Ross-Hellauer n 6. This list has been found in Sekhar and Aery n See Van Rooyen and others n The researchers main question was whether translating to expert vetting phase to an open forum would inhibit frankness: would reviewers feel they could be critical in public?

Fitzpatrick and Rowe n 29 Garrido-Gallego, Y. Tilburg Law Review , 23 , pp. Garrido-Gallego Y. Tilburg Law Review. She has published widely in these areas. She has been invited professor at numerous universities, has been and is involved in policy advice to the European Commission, to the European Science Foundation as well as to national bodies and is serving on a number of advisory boards of academic institutions as well as on editorial boards of journals. Her publications can be found indexed in the Web of Science. He is specialized in studies of scholarly publishing and in the development and use of bibliometric indicators for statistics, evaluation, funding, and science policy.

Sivertsen has a doctoral degree in Scandinavian literature from the University of Oslo. During his graduate career, he served as a research assistant at Harvard Law School and led a research project at the University of Pennsylvania. Upon the completion of his degree Tihomir gained experience as an advisor at the United Nations and spent two years as a strategy consultant in the international division of Scholastic Inc. He subsequently managed all research and communication functions on an international project at the International Finance Corporation — the private-sector arm of the World Bank Group — where he facilitated the communication among various departments and partner organizations, produced research papers and policy statements on sustainability-related topics, reported to a high-level working group, conceived a toolkit for the use of small- and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries, organized and co-facilitated multi-stakeholder workshops in the Philippines, Colombia, Kenya, Lebanon and Serbia.

Daniel is a psychologist by training, and a graduate of the University of Konstanz Germany. From to Dr.

Since , Dr. According to Kostoff , p. Floortje has been with Elsevier for almost a decade and worked in various roles in Northern and Eastern Europe. Floortje has a background in marketing and economics, before working at Elsevier she co-owned a small company importing goods from Southeast Asia. Stephan Gauch finished his PHD in on the topic of the interlinkage between research and standardization and the the division of labor between formal and informal standardization in ICT.

At ECOOM she is active in pre-bibliometrics and since she is also doing research in bibliometrics. Her topics of interest are author-identification methods and the empirical analysis of download and citation processes. His book Guardians of Science — Fairness and Reliability of Peer Review is one of the most cited reference on peer review.

Irene Hames is an independent advisor on peer review, research integrity and publication ethics. Her experience in research communication and publication spans 40 years, including 20 years as the managing editor of a large scientific journal. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, and in was awarded the Publons inaugural Sentinel Award for outstanding advocacy, innovation or contribution to scholarly peer review.