September 20, 2021 – The PREreview team is very excited to announce the publication of the Open Reviewers Toolkit, three guides to help with the unbiased composition and assessment of research manuscripts' review. The guides are openly available for download on Zenodo under CC-BY 4.0 license.

  • The first one is the Bias Reflection Guide, a tool meant to help a reviewer assess their own biases and assumptions while reviewing a research manuscript, guiding them through a non-judgmental and self-reflective process. Realizing and reminding ourselves about our biases is the first and necessary step in countering them in the process of decision making.
  • The second one is the Reviewer Guide, a comprehensive, step-by-step framework to guide a reviewer, particularly one with little experience, in the process of reading and evaluating a research manuscript, and writing a peer review report. The guide includes resources adapted from the PLOS Peer Review Center and quotes from journal editors we gathered via individual conversations or a survey. It also contains a printable review template with questions and prompts to guide the review composition.
  • The third one is the Review Assessment Rubric, a tool meant for anyone who is evaluating a research manuscript’s review. This may include a mentor in the context of peer review training, a peer helping the review author evaluate their review, or even the reviewer themselves to self-evaluate their own review. The rubric comprises 10 statements for which the evaluator is asked to provide a score and a written comment to help improve the review.

We are particularly proud to release these guides in occasion of Peer Review Week, almost 1 year after first creating and using them as supporting materials for the Open Reviewers Program we piloted in 2020 with eLife and Mozilla's support.

Special thanks go to all Stage 1 Review Trainees who participated in the pilot program and provided us with helpful feedback to the first version of these guides.

We also thank all the editors who provided us with useful quotes and feedback to the resources, as well as the team at eLife for sponsoring the graphic design for the guides done by Dan Gould.