This report by Mark Ware, based on survey data compiled in late 2015, analyses current opinions and attitudes of authors and reviewers to peer review. The report also draws comparisons with previous surveys by PRC (2007), Sense About Science (2009) and Taylor & Francis (2015) to identify longitudinal trends.
Large majorities of researchers agree that peer review helps scholarly communication and that without peer review there would be no control in scholarly communication. Neverthless, in recent years peer review has come under scrutiny, with its effectiveness, validity, fairness, capacity to delay publication, sustainability, and cost effectiveness all subject to challenge and debate.
At the same time, technology has enabled services that arguably reduce the role of peer review, such as pre-print repositories, post-publication 'altmetrics', and research sharing platforms.
Against this background of debate, challenge and innovation, and with the benchmark of previous surveys to call on, PRC thought it important to understand the extent to which attitudes and opinions towards peer review are changing.
While attitdues towards peer review have remainded remarkably stable, the desire for improvements appears to be increasing. This analysis looks to draw out the nuances and shifts in opinion, while exploring how author and reviewer experiences may impact the direction of change. Why do the respondents continue to engage in peer review, and are there any demographic factors that predict the dimensions of satisfaction?