Peer Review

Post Publication Peer Review (PPPR) for ScienceOpen Research articles and all content on our platform (currently more than 28 million article records).

Why Review for ScienceOpen?

Peer review is an essential part of the scientific publishing and communication process. By sharing their expert opinion, researchers evaluate and improve the research of their peers. Even if an article has been published and ‘passed’ peer review, you can still comment on it, as research is a continuous process. The only reason there would ever be no value in doing this would be if all published work were completely infallible, which is clearly not the case.

One major problem with the traditional model of peer review is that reviewers are seldom credited for their voluntary performance. A further issue is that some unscrupulous reviewers hamper scientific progress by demanding questionable changes, either intentionally exploiting anonymity or because they are simply unsuitable.  In short, peer review suffers from a lack of transparency, recognition, and accountability, which are hardly valid aspects of the gold standard that we hold peer review to.

How is any system that is closed, exclusive, and secretive supposed to be objective?

ScienceOpen is set to change this.

At ScienceOpen, the identity of the reviewers and their comments are visible at all times. This means that peer reviews have to be constructive, courteous, and well-written, as we should expect. These peer reviews are also moderated by ORCID to maintain some standard of quality control that goes beyond status or any sort of academic hierarchy. Any sort of system like this requires a standard of moderation, and we believe that by integrating with ORCID this is the fairest and most robust way of doing so.

Peer Reviews are published with a Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY (4.0) license and also receive a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) from CrossRef, similar to a formal research publication. This means that reviews are re-usable, citable, and permanent records of your reviewing activities, and therefore all of your review activities can be integrated with ORCID, Publons, and ImpactStory, helping to build your profile as a researcher.

We are moderated

At the moment we have more than 28 million research articles and records on our platform. Each of these is open to our commenting and post-publication peer review system. This is one of the best parts of our platform, and we have more than 120 post-publication peer reviews to date to show it! Every single one is courteous, professional, and informative, and we strongly encourage more researchers to embrace these opportunities as open peer review becomes more commonplace.

To perform a peer review, all you need are 5 records associated with your ORCID to demonstrate that you are an active and professional researcher. If you’re earlier on in your career and see something that you just have to peer review, let us know and we’ll be more than happy to make exceptions.

Furthermore, collection Editors have the power to invite peer reviews from anyone to any of the articles within their collection. Exactly like the traditional peer review system, but across all journals and publishers, and moderated by and for research communities.

So, how do you review on ScienceOpen?

Checklist for Reviewers

  • Did you register with ScienceOpen and ORCID? If not, follow the instructions here.
  • Did you link your ScienceOpen profile to ORCID publication history? Reviewers are required to have published at least five scientific manuscripts.  To ensure that this condition is met, ScienceOpen has partnered with the non-profit ORCID. If you have questions about updating your ORCID profile to reflect your prior publications, feel free to contact us here
  • Did you do your best to minimize bias? When writing a review, you must officially declare that you have no “competing interests” that might compromise your independent assessment. Please read our statement on competing interests.
  • Are you aware that your review and/or comments are published alongside the original article under your full name with your corresponding ORCID? Your comments will be visible to the public.
  • Did you read the Open Science Peer Review Oath below?
  • Are you aware of the following aims and objectives of the peer review process?

Aims and Objectives of Reviews

Peer Reviews should result from an in-depth and thorough evaluation of a research manuscript. Reviews should aim to help readers decide if the manuscript is scientifically sound, meets academic standards and is worth reading in its present form.

We do not expect reviewers to decide if a manuscript is “worthy of publication” since they have already been published. Instead, the expert commentaries expressed at ScienceOpen should aim to assist both authors and readers, and improve the value of the associated research.

Reviewers should guide authors and encourage them to further improve their skills and research. Based on critical reception, authors may publicly engage the reviews and/or comments via the article homepage, or publish a revised version of the original manuscript if possible. It is important that this progressive discourse happen in the open.

Finally, reviewer star ratings of the manuscript (see below) will help to determine whether the paper will be covered by abstracting and indexing services. This responsibility demands that a reviewer take the job seriously, since it will impact the fate of the article on ScienceOpen and elsewhere on the web. As reward for the task, reviewers will receive a citable DOI for their review (see “Why Review for Science Open?” above), and recognition from their research community.

Of what does a review consist? Reviews consist of two parts listed below.

General Factors Ratings

Please provide a rating from one star (poor) to five stars (excellent)

  • Level of importance:

Is the publication of relevance for the academic community and does it provide important insights? Does the work represent a novel approach or new findings in comparison with other publications in the field?

  • Level of validity:

Is the hypothesis clearly formulated? Is the argumentation stringent? Are the data sound, well-controlled and statistically significant? Is the interpretation balanced and supported by the data? Are appropriate and state-of-the-art methods used?

  • Level of completeness:

Do the authors reference the appropriate scholarly context? Do the authors provide or cite all information to follow their findings or argumentation? Do they cite all relevant publications in the field?

  • Level of comprehensibility:

Is the language correct and easy to understand for an academic in the field? Are the figures well displayed and captions properly described? Is the article systematically and logically organized?

The Written Referee Report

After assigning the manuscript rating (see above), reviewers may submit a written review (up to 10,000 characters).  Reviews should stick to the aims and objectives set out above.  Try to structure your review as a list of major points followed by minor points and conclude with an overall impression of the manuscript. Keep in mind that the audience for the review includes both authors and readers (see above). 

Who is Able to Review?

Members of the ScienceOpen community that meet certain conditions are able to contribute to the peer review process in two different ways (see below).  These conditions are verified via the non-profit organization, ORCID.

ORCID provides unique numeric identifiers to researchers to solve the “name-ambiguity” problem in the field of science publishing. Additionally, ORCID conveniently provides a free space on the internet for researchers to compile html links to their previous publications.  Lastly, ORCID links the researcher’s ORCID ID to the html link of the researcher’s publications.  Researchers register with ORCID via their institutionally legitimated email address.

The two ways to contribute to articles on ScienceOpen are as follows:

Members with at least one publication linked from their ORCID account are able to comment on a paper.

Scientific Members and Expert Members with at least five publications linked from their ORCID account are able to write a review and rate an article. We do make exceptions, and users who do not meet these criteria but still wish to perform a peer review should contact us.

Reviews, comments and the average rating are displayed along with the article and are included in the article metadata.

Who is Able to Select and Invite Reviewers?

Authors are free to invite suitable reviewers for their own manuscript – as long as they are in accordance with our Peer Review Policy. There are no limits on the number of invited reviews. Editors or other ScienceOpen members may invite additional peers to review your work. Unsolicited comments and reviews make up an important component of our public peer review system.

The Open Science Peer Review Oath

The following Open Science Peer Review Oath was compiled during the AllBio: Open Science & Reproducibility Best Practice Workshop. We strongly encourage our reviewers to adhere to its four core principles when writing a review on ScienceOpen:

Principle 1:  I will sign my name to my review.

Principle 2:  I will review with integrity.

Principle 3:  I will treat the review as a discourse with you; in particular, I will provide constructive criticism.

Principle 4:  I will be an ambassador for the practice of Open Science.


1:  At ScienceOpen, the names of the reviewers and their comments are visible by default at all times. Reviewers need to register at ScienceOpen via their unique ORCID identifier before they are able to review an article. We expect reviewers to enter their full name and affiliation in ORCID, in order to make it easier for others to verify their identity.

2:  We expect reviewers to declare any potential competing interests that might have an influence on their independent judgment and refrain from writing a review when the judgment is biased by other conflicting interests. Furthermore, we expect reviewers to only review articles that clearly fall into their field of expertise.

3:  We expect reviewers to write comprehensive and balanced reviews. The major intention of reviews is to encourage authors to further improve their work and to support readers in judging the overall quality of the work in its current state. Especially negative reviews should be well justified and explained in great detail.

4:  We encourage reviewers to take the practice of open science into account when writing a review. Did the authors deposit all relevant research data, data sets, and protocols in a public domain database or repository? Do the authors share research tools (reagents, cell lines, animal models, vectors etc.)? See the Peer Reviewers’ Openness Initiative for a good foundation.