PREreview's mission is to bring more diversity to scholarly peer review by supporting and empowering community of researchers, particularly those at early stages of their career (ECRs) to review preprints.
We envision a system in which any researcher, regardless of their prior engagement with journal-organized peer review, career level, geographical location, institutional affiliation, research field, gender, sexual orientation, and ability is invited to share openly constructive feedback on early version of research manuscripts shared as preprints on any web server.
Why community peer review of preprints?
To expand and diversify the pool of peer reviewers
The current system of scientific peer review is flawed. Research is evaluated by a handful of unpaid reviewers selected by journal editors as “experts” in the field. Two or sometimes three reviewers are chosen opaquely, often through personal connections. Behind closed doors, they decide the fate of a research article, largely basing their evaluation on subjective criteria.
This arcane process is not only slow and inefficient – with waiting periods from submission to publication of six months or more – but it also disadvantages researchers from under-represented groups or under-resourced institutions. When they submit their research for peer review, their work is evaluated using standards developed for research groups with vastly more resources and connections.
The gatekeepers to publication are disproportionately male3,4,5 and from the U.S. or European countries6. Rarely is research evaluated by a diverse pool of reviewers who can provide a comprehensive and context-appropriate evaluation of the work.
At PREreview we believe all researchers should be allowed to help others by reviewing the work of their peers, as long as it is done constructively.
To train researchers to provide constructive feedback
Paradoxically, while peer review is a key component for scientific dissemination, very few scientists receive any formal training in it.
In our community opinion survey2, we found that only 18% of the respondents had received peer review training, even though 72% had contributed to the peer review process. This suggests that very few scientists are trained when they write their first review – and even when they are, the training may vary greatly in quality.
This is not only worrisome for journal editors because they will find it harder to recruit new qualified reviewers, but it also denies ECRs the opportunity to learn valuable critical thinking skills in the early stages of their training.
Furthermore, ECRs are rarely invited to engage in traditional peer review. This is likely because they are either not known to journal editors or they are believed to be less competent than more senior researchers at providing feedback on their peers’ work.
Thus, we need better ways to find, train, and engage researchers in peer review, and, importantly, we need to be intentional about including researchers from under-represented groups in the design and leadership on any potential solutions.
PREreview is a new, open-source and free platform designed from the ground up to engage the whole scientific community with collaborative and constructive peer review on preprints.
Some of the key features of the new PREreview platform include the ability for users to sign-in with their ORCID IDs (with optional pseudonymity), solicit preprint feedback, leave comments, and endorse others’ reviews, all in accordance with PREreview’s Code of Conduct. To learn more about the platform's features, please read this blog post.
Outbreak Science Rapid PREreview
PREreview partnered with the non-profit organization Outbreak Science to develop open infrastructure to help researchers read, provide, and request rapid feedback on outbreak-related preprints.
Outbreak Science rapid PREreview (OSrPRE) is an application for rapid, structured reviews of outbreak-related preprints. To read more about this platform visit the website and read this blog post about its recent release.
The leadership team at PREreview is composed of three women scientists and community organizers, Drs. Daniela Saderi, Sam Hindle, and Monica Granados.
The steering committee also includes Dr. Lenny Teytelman.
Daniela Saderi, Ph.D. – Co-Founder, Project Director
Daniela has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience during which she studied mechanisms of auditory processing in mammals. As the project Director at PREreview she is responsible for product development and manageement, fundraising, and communication. During her time as a student, she became increasingly interested in how open practices can be used to empower early-career researchers in taking ownership over their work, and to facilitate collaborations within and across teams. This passion, combined with active community engagement, led her to co-found PREreview in 2017 and become a Mozilla Fellow for Science in 2018/2019.
Samantha Hindle, Ph.D. – Co-Founder, Peer Review Mentorship Program Lead
Sam has a Ph.D in Neuroscience and leads the Peer Review Mentorship Program. Her primary job is as Content Lead at bioRxiv—the leading preprint server for the life sciences—where she guides and supports the editorial team, helps to implement innovative updates to the server, and engages in advocacy efforts to promote equity in access to scientific discoveries through preprints. Her advocacy for the use of preprints began with her early engagement with the ASAPbio Ambassadors and Mozilla communities, paths that led her to co-found PREreview in 2017.
Monica Granados, Ph.D. – Community Building and Outreach Lead
Monica has a Ph.D. in Ecology and joined the PREreview team in January 2018, first as a mentor and advisor, and then as the lead of community building and outreach. Her primary job is as a Mitacs Canadian Science Policy Fellow working as a Policy Analyst at Environment and Climate Change Canada in open science. As a food web ecologist, she has been dedicated to using the current knowledge around food webs to monitor changes in freshwater systems and, most importantly, to provide recommendations to decision makers and the public. Monica is a story-teller and teaches other scientists how to use improv skills as a way to better communicate their science.
Lenny Teytelman, Ph.D. – CEO and Co-Founder of protocols.io
Lenny is the CEO and Co-Founder of protocols.io, an open access repository for sharing research methods. Lenny has over a decade of computational and experimental biology experience. He did his graduate studies at UC Berkeley and finished his postdoctoral research at MIT. Lenny has a strong passion for sharing science and improving research efficiency through technology.
Josh Nicholson, Ph.D. – Founder and CEO of scite_
Josh Nicholson received his Ph.D. in 2015 from Virginia Tech studying the role of the karyotype in cancer initiation and progression in the lab of Dr. Daniela Cimini. He received his Bachelors of Science degree in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology at UC Santa Cruz in 2008. He has authored numerous articles on cancer and the practice of science, some of which have been discussed in Newsweek, The Economist, The Chicago Tribune, and The Boston Globe.
Naomi Penfold, Ph.D. – Associate Director of ASAPbio
Naomi is Associated Director of ASAPbio, a scientist-driven non-profit working to promote conversations about the effective use of preprints in biology. Before joining ASAPbio, Naomi was the Innovation Officer for the journal eLIFE. Naomi received her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 2017, following research in behavioural neuroscience and developmental biology. She now works to identify and support open source projects for open science, with a focus on those that improve the discovery, sharing, consumption and evaluation of research. More broadly, Naomi is an advocate for inclusive community practises and governance as a way to make research a more equitable and effective enterprise.
Jessica Polka, Ph.D. – Director of ASAPbio
Jessica is Director of ASAPbio, a scientist-driven non-profit working to promote conversations about the effective use of preprints in biology. Currently a visiting scholar at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, MA, Jessica performed postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School; she received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from UCSF and a BS in Biology from UNC-CH. She serves on ASCB's Public Policy Committee as well as NAS's Next Generation Researchers Initiative.
Code for Science & Society (CS&S) is our fiscal sponsor. CS&S provides administrative and strategic resources to project leads to support them in developing innovative technologies that benefit humanity. CS&S supports PREreview by assisting in managing partnerships with scientists and institutions, connecting with the larger open scholarship community, fundraising, as well as hiring and management of staff.
We also received funding from the Wellcome Trust for a the development of the Outbreak Science Rapid PREreview platform in collaboration with the non-profit organization Outbreak Science. Read more about this project here.
For any questions or concerns, or to report a violation of the Code of Conduct, please don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For anonymous Code of Conduct violation, please fill out this form.
Here you can learn more about our Code of Conduct.
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1Ronald D. Vale. Accelerating scientific publication in biology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112, 13439–13446 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2015
2Samantha Hindle, Daniela Saderi. Preprint Journal Clubs: Your Opinions Revealed. Authorea. November 29, 2017. DOI: https://doi.org/10.22541/au.151193754.44459059.
3Helmer, Markus, Manuel Schottdorf, Andreas Neef, and Demian Battaglia. 2017. “Gender Bias in Scholarly Peer Review.” eLife 6 (March). https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.21718.
4Lerback, Jory C., American Geophysical Union, and R. Brooks Hanson. 2016. “Gender Bias In Peer Review and Scholarly Publishing.” https://doi.org/10.1130/abs/2016am-281633.
5Murray, Dakota, Kyle Siler, Vincent Larivière, Wei Mun Chan, Andrew M. Collings, Jennifer Raymond, and Cassidy R. Sugimoto. 2018. “Gender and International Diversity Improves Equity in Peer Review.” Scientific Communication and Education. bioRxiv.
6“Nature’s Sexism.” 2012. Nature. https://doi.org/10.1038/491495a.