Peer Review in a Changing World: Through the Editor’s Lens

As the world becomes increasingly complex, so does the research landscape. How can we meet the challenges of modern scholarship in the context of peer review? Find out what our editors have to say.

From 25-29 September 2023 we celebrate Peer Review Week (PRW), which this year explores the relationship between peer review and the future of publishing.

In its daily practice, peer review remains a process that hasn’t seen drastic changes over the past decades. Meanwhile, both the research landscape and the world that it studies are swiftly evolving. For instance, scholars are increasingly engaging in cross-disciplinary and hyperspecialized work, concerns over scientific fraud and disinformation are growing, and considerations of diversity and sustainability are gaining prominence.

As part of our mini-series on Peer Review Week 2023, we asked some of our book and journal editors whether modern research practices and challenges should prompt a rethink of peer review – and how this might unfold.

Words From Our Editors

“A peer-review process that is correct from all points of view is crucial to ensure a high quality of scientific publications. The context of increasing specialization and high workloads of scholars could compromise the success of this process. Recruitment of specialist reviewers supported by monetary rewards, exemption vouchers for open access publications and awards for the quality of the reviews performed could support the sustainability of a correct peer review process.”

Prof. (Assist.) Donato Morea
Co-Editor of the journal Open Agriculture

“Publishers have a key role to play in encouraging greater diversity and inclusivity in academia. Peer Review is an area where we can influence change and we must be mindful of supporting our journal editors to develop a more diverse community of reviewers. Making conscious choices to diversify a journal’s reviewer base can have huge benefits, giving a greater balance of perspectives to improve research outputs and also ensuring better representation of all groups in academia as a whole.”

Guy Edwards
Senior Journals Manager Linguistics & Humanities

“Reviewers are increasingly diverse — I have certainly seen more and more reviewers of diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds volunteer to review manuscripts. The community should now look into the data related to the ratio of reviews vs. publications by reviewers. I am concerned that those who review a lot for the community publish disproportionately less than those who do not review. We should aim to achieve equity in both sharing the review load and having opportunities to publish.”

Prof. Andy Gao
Editor-in-Chief of the journal International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching

“Peer reviewers hold authors accountable for what they write. Their role is to pick up on inconsistencies, unfounded statements, problematic arguments. That said, peer reviewers are not always right in their criticism, and overly critical feedback may in fact suggest that a reviewer is biased. But when done well, peer review makes it harder for unfounded opinion to pass as fact and helps put ideas into context. Context and well-meaning scrutiny are potent antidotes to disinformation and fraud.“

Dr. Myrto Aspioti
Acquisitions Editor for Literary and Cultural Studies

“Modern research practices and possibilities facilitate peer-review. At the same time, they make peer-review even more necessary.”

Prof. Paulo de Medeiros
Editor of the book series Culture and Conflict

What Are Your Thoughts on the Topic?

Stay tuned for more blog posts on Peer Review Week 2023 and join the conversation on our social media channels using the hashtag #DeGruyterPRW!

[Title image by BalanceFormcreative/iStock/Getty Images Plus]

The Editors

Articles signed by the editors were written in a collective effort.

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