Bringing a 'trust but verify' model to journal peer review

Posted on Thursday, July 20, 2017

Dr. David Moher

Dr. David Moher. Picture courtesy of The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

Academic journals are increasingly asking authors to use transparent reporting practices to "trust, but verify" that outcomes are not being reported in a biased way and enable other researchers to reproduce the results. To implement these reporting practices, most journals rely on the process of peer review — where other scholars review research findings before publication — but relatively few journals measure the quality and effectiveness of the process.

 In a commentary published July 21 in the journal Science, lead author Dr. Carole Lee and co-author Dr. David Moher  identify incentives that could encourage journals to "open the black box of peer review" for the sake of improving transparency, reproducibility, and trust in published research. 

Dr. Lee is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Washington; Dr. Moher is a senior scientist in clinical epidemiology at The Ottawa Hospital and associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Ottawa. 

Drs. Lee and Moher see this as a collective action problem requiring leadership and investment by publishers. 

Read the full commentary in Science.

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