Peer Review

Post Publication Peer Review for ScienceOpen Research articles & all content in the search feeds.

Why Review for ScienceOpen?

Peer review is an essential part of the scientific publishing process. By sharing their expert opinion, researchers evaluate and improve the manuscripts of their peers.  The first problem with the currently widespread, conventional model is that good reviewers are seldom credited for their voluntary performance. The second problem with the current model 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 reviewers suffer from a lack of recognition and authors suffer from unscrupulous reviewers.

ScienceOpen is set to change this.

At ScienceOpen, the identity of the reviewers and their comments are visible at all times. Theoretically, this solves problem two above. Additionally, problem one is creatively solved at ScienceOpen through the following means: Peer Reviews are published under Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY (4.0) and receive a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) from CrossRef. This adds another dimension to how researchers are able to document their contribution to the scientific endeavor. Reviewers are able to compile a publication list of their reviews. Researchers and scientists can display their expertise in a field and in the relevant literature. A Science or Nature paper might demonstrate your personal experimental proficiency, but reviewing the work of your colleagues will demonstrate your astute intellect, and your commitment to community.

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 
  • 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 ID? 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 the manuscript.

We do not expect reviewers to decide if a manuscript is “worthy of publication” since it has been already published via open access license, CC-BY 4.0. Instead, the expert opinions expressed at ScienceOpen should aim to assist both authors and readers.

Reviewers should guide authors and encourage them to further improve their skill. Based on critical reception, authors may publicly engage the reviews and/or comments via the article homepage, publish a revised version of the original manuscript, or retract.

Reviews should aim to help readers decide if the manuscript is scientifically sound, meets academic standards and is worth reading in its present form.

Finally, reviewer star ratings of the manuscript (see below) will help to determine whether the paper will be covered by abstracting & 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 discounts on APCs on ScienceOpen.

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 Allowed 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 ScienceOpen original publications 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.

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

Who is Allowed 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 five 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.)?