PREreview's mission is to bring more diversity to scholarly peer review by supporting and empowering communities of researchers, particularly those at early stages of their career (ECRs) and historically under-represented in scholarship, to review preprints in a process that is rewarding to them.
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.
What we do
We are re-imagining the scholarly peer review process by centering values of equity, openness, and collaboration.
We want to extend the pool of peer reviewers to underrepresented groups of researchers whose expertise is measured by constructive contributions and community engagement and not by seniority and prestige.
We accelerate discovery by enabling constructive feedback to preprints at a point in time in which it is needed.
We provide opportunities for researchers to create meaningful collaborations and connections defeating cultural and geographical barriers.
How we do it
- We invest in diverse early career researchers
- We build infrastructure for preprint review
- We create resources and host events to engage researchers in collaborative and open peer review
PREreview is an 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.
Peer Review Mentoring Program
We are developing a completely virtual, cohort-based peer review mentoring program, in which early career researchers with little to no experience in peer review are paired to more experienced reviewers and engage in group conversations around issues of peer review. This free program will provide training in the existing peer review formats, critical evaluation and constructive feedback, implicit bias, peer review ethics, editorial career opportunities, as well as leadership and mentorship skills for those who will want to be mentors in the following rounds. To learn more about the program’s roadmap, please see this blog post.
Live-streamed PREreview Journal Clubs
Live-streamed preprint journal clubs are topic-centered, interactive preprint journal clubs that are live-streamed via the video-conference tool Zoom.
These events are designed to be inclusive by allowing structured and constructive discussions around preprints and encouraging diverse methods of participation. Online journal clubs are hosted by two facilitators with experience in mediating video calls. Together with a topic expert, they guide participants through a constructive discussion of the preprint following the structure of this template, thereby making it easier to record and later collate feedback into a review.
Why we do it
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.
Daniela Saderi, Ph.D. – Co-Founder, 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 management, 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, Leadership Team
Sam has a Ph.D in Neuroscience and leads the Peer Review Mentoring 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. – Leadership Team
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. 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.
Katrina Murphy – Project Manager
Katrina Murphy joined the PREreview team as a project manager in April 2020. With a B.S. in Bioengineering from Oregon State University and over ten years of lab and academic research experience, Katrina has endeavored to position herself with a perspective on both conventional and integrative healthcare practices. She has conducted research at Oregon Medical Laser Center, A-dec, and Oregon Health & Science University, with additional training in Biomedical Communications and Scanning Electron Microscopy. She is also a yoga teacher, currently studying to become a yoga therapist, and the brand ambassador for Ranger Chocolate.
Antoinette Foster – Peer Review Mentoring Program Content Developer
Antoinette Foster is a Ph.D. candidate at Oregon Health & Science University, in Portland OR, where she studies the transcriptional and translational profiles of a glial brain cells called oligodendrocytes. She is also the Co-Founder of a campus affinity group, Alliance for Visible Diversity in Science, which works to increase racial diversity and inclusion within science. She joined the PREreview team in January 2020 and has worked in close collaboration with Samantha Hindle to develop the content for the peer review mentoring program.
Georgia Bullen – Executive Director at Simply Secure
Georgia is the Executive Director of Simply Secure, a non-profit organization that supports practitioners working with the most vulnerable people by designing for safety and privacy. She is an advocate in the internet health movement through her work and passion around issues such as net neutrality, security, privacy, and equitable access to technology. Her work has focused on the intersection of human-centered design, communities, physical space, and technology – e.g., how technology intersects with human rights — access to information and the right to communicate. Georgia has a background in human-centered design, data visualization, urban planning and software development, and is an advocate for diversity in technology.
Kristen Ratan – Founder and Director at Stratos
Kristen Ratan founded Strategies for Open Science (Stratos) to synthesize open science efforts into a cohesive movement. Kristen has a 20-year history working to accelerate advances in science and research communication with a focus on open science. She co-founded the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation, was the Publisher at the Public Library of Science (PLOS), and held leadership positions at HighWire Press, Atypon, and BIOSIS. Kristen is on the board of the American Institute of Physics Publishing, the Code for Science and Society, and ASAPbio. In addition to PREreview, she holds advisory board positions at MIT Press and Stencila.
Naomi Penfold, Ph.D. – Community Manager at eLife
Naomi is Community Manager at eLife, where she works with the eLife Early-Career Advisory Group, the eLife Community Ambassadors and the early-career researcher community at large. She is a 2019 alumnus of the CSCCE's Community Engagement Fellowship Program. More at https://npscience.github.io/.
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.
Veronique Kiermer, Ph.D. – Chief Scientific Office at PLOS
Véronique Kiermer is the Chief Scientific Officer at PLOS, the Public Library of Science, where she oversees the editorial department and the development of services, products and policies to promote open science. Before joining PLOS in 2015, she was Executive Editor and Director of Author and Reviewer Services for Nature Publishing Group. In that capacity she oversaw editorial and research integrity policies across the Nature journals. She started her career in publishing in 2004 as the founding Chief Editor of Nature Methods. Véronique has a PhD in molecular biology from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. Before moving into publishing, she did postdoctoral work on HIV transcription in the laboratory of Dr Eric Verdin at the Gladstone Institutes, University of California, San Francisco, and worked on gene therapy projects in the biotechnology industry in the Bay Area. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Keystone Symposia and ORCID.
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.
Jessica Polka, Ph.D. – Executive Director of ASAPbio
Jessica Polka serves as Executive Director of ASAPbio, a researcher-driven nonprofit organization working to promote innovation and transparency in life sciences publishing in areas such as preprinting and open peer review. Prior to this, she performed postdoctoral research in the department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School following a PhD in Biochemistry & Cell Biology from UCSF. Jessica is also a Plan S Ambassador, an affiliate of the Knowledge Futures Group, and a steering committee member of Rescuing Biomedical Research.
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 contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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.