PEER REVIEW: STATE OF THE ART AND SCIENCE
The long-standing process of peer review in scholarly literature remains as a necessary hallmark of quality and credibility despite ongoing debates about what it is, how to do it, why it is important, and what alternatives exist. Yes, peer review is challenging and frustrating, with many persistent features that range from serious flaws to simply being annoying. Nonetheless, acceptable alternatives that achieve the underlying goals of quality and credibility have not yet emerged, and the importance of peer review has become more urgent with the growth of dishonest (predatory) publishing.
The debates and challenges that peer review prompts led to the establishment of the now annual global event known as Peer Review Week (PRW) (@PeerRevWeek; https://peerreviewweek.wordpress.com/). Held for a week in September each year, this global event is a model for the future of scholarly debate and discourse! It is a “ground up” event—anyone can participate in any way you wish. You can “register” your event if you want to draw an international audience. Or, you can simply organize something in your local community—by and for people in your circle of friends and colleagues. Here are the general suggestions/guidelines for participation published on the PRW website:
- Host a webinar or virtual panel discussion (or attend one!).
- Submit a video to the Peer Review Week YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbmYfn4oBs5a084aOu-ph-g).
- Write a blog post related to the PRW theme.
- Organize or participate in a peer review–themed social media campaign.
- Attend one of the PRW Reddit AMAs—or organize your own.
- Join the discussion on Twitter by following @PeerRevWeek and using this year's hashtags: #PeerReviewWeek22 and #IdentityInPeerReview
Each year I tune in to the YouTube channel, follow the Twitter hashtag, and check the website to scan for virtual events or presentations to find topics and issues that provide me, as an Editor, a global perspective and introduction to new ideas for refining the processes we use. I find the discussions interesting and compelling and well worth considering. So far the message I come away with is that given the purposes and aims of ANS, the double-anonymous peer review process that we use is serving the journal well. But the fact remains that given the challenge of building and sustaining credibility, and despite the frustrations and drawbacks, ongoing discussion and searching for “a better way” are not only interesting but also, in fact, necessary to achieve the fundamental purposes involved in building a strong scholarly community!
—Peggy L. Chinn, PhD, RN, FAAN