Peer review

thu dec 1 session 7 14:00 - 15:45

Chair: Joona Lehtomäki (VU Amsterdam)

Michael Markie (F1000): OPEN SESAME – Let’s Free Peer Review and the Sharing of Research


Last year scientific publishing reached an impressive milestone. Way back in the 17th Century, 350 years ago, the world’s first journal Philosophical Transactions B was published by the Royal Society. The technical innovation those days was the pioneering printing press, which at that point in history was comparable to the advent of the internet as it enabled an efficient way to spread scientific knowledge far and wide. Not much has changed. Journals are still the way we communicate science. Ironically, during these 350 years we have seen science itself progress astronomically. Watson and Crick discovered life’s building block DNA, Niels Bohr and others unravel the intricacies of quantum theory, we’ve even put a human on the moon; so that begs the question, why do we still disseminate science in a similar fashion to 350 years ago?

The journal article is merely a proxy for science communication, but its static nature isn’t how science is done – in many cases it’s not the best way to convey research. A scientist should not be saying what is the best journal for my work, but rather what is the best format to communicate my science. One way to achieve a more complementary way of sharing research would be to open up elements of the publication process and take advantage of the digital age. With today’s technology we can start to tackle the current pain points such as peer review, data availability and universal access. In particular making peer review open and attributed could start to drive a culture shift in how we share, trust and evaluate work. This talk will therefore explore the benefits of open peer review, as well as the advantages of making the whole publication process open and transparent.

About the speaker:

Mr Markie studied chemistry and chemical biology at the University of Leeds and is currently the publisher of F1000 Platforms, part of F1000 Research. F1000 Research is an original open science publishing platform for life scientists that offers immediate open access publication, transparent post-publication peer review, and full data deposition and sharing. He is based in London (UK).

Camilla Mørk Røstvik (St Andrews): ‘Too Ambitious’? The History of Women and Publishing at the Royal Society in the 20th and 21st century


Throughout its history, the Royal Society of London has been a male-dominated institution; it finally admitted women to its prestigious fellowship in 1945. One of the effects of this change was that it became possible for women to be involved in the editorial processes at the Society’s publications, the Philosophical Transactions (f. 1665) and the Proceedings (f. 1831). There had been a small but growing number of female authors in the Society’s publications since the 1890s, but two key roles were reserved for Fellows: the right to ‘communicate’ a paper to the Society on behalf of a non-Fellow (a key gatekeeping role); and the possibility of acting as expert referee to evaluate papers submitted (key in the making of editorial decisions). Thus, until 1945, all gatekeeping and editorial decision-making for the Royal Society’s publications was done by men. This paper is part of a larger project about the history of the Society’s publications, and will explore the role of women in editorial decision-making from 1945 onwards. Through examining the surviving referee reports (both accepted and declined for publication) and other archival material, I will explore the gendered experience of peer review of and by women at the Royal Society.

About the speaker:

Dr Røstvik earned her PhD in history from the University of Manchester where she studied cultural engagement at CERN past and present. She is currently a research fellow at the school of history at the University of St Andrews. She is part of a research project Publishing the Philosophical Transactions: the social, cultural & economic history of a learned journal 1665 – 2015. Her interests also include gender studies and art history. She is based near Manchester (UK).

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