Peer Review Week explores future of publishing

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This year’s Peer Review Week (PRW), an annual event to celebrate the value of peer review that brings together scholarly communication stakeholders, including academic publishers, associations, institutions, and researchers, will be dedicated to the theme “Peer Review and The Future of Publishing.”

During the week of 25-29 September, participating organisations will host events and activities to highlight the changing publishing landscape and the ongoing vital role of peer review in shaping scholarly communication. The theme was chosen via an open global poll of the scholarly community.

The organising committee said: "Scholarly publishing is in a period of rapid, transformational change, fueled by new policies, new business models, new technologies, and a drive toward increased transparency and reproducibility. In the US, government agencies are determining how they will comply with the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memo calling for free, immediate and equitable access to federally funded research by 2026. Next year, Plan S will go into full effect, ending financial support for transformative agreements.

"The advent of easily accessible large scale natural language processing tools like ChatGPT is opening a new realm of ethical and practical considerations. Non-article research outputs like data, methods, and code are gaining prominence, evolving from nice-to-have supporting documentation to citable published artifacts, formally preserved in the scientific record. Peer reviewers face increasing demands on their time and expertise, making it more challenging to secure reviewers. As it did in so many other areas, the pandemic has accelerated that trend—and that is just the beginning.

"But in spite of these seismic shifts, peer review itself remains largely unchanged, both in its value to the scholarly community and its day-to-day practice at journals. Peer review is the primary way that journals evaluate the rigour, credibility, and potential interest of research submitted for publication consideration. What does the changing publishing landscape mean for the practice of peer review, and for peer reviewers themselves?"

Peer Review Week committee co-chair Roohi Ghosh added: “This is a really timely moment to pause and think about what the future of journal publishing might look like, and the role of peer review in that. Are there opportunities to streamline, to create efficiencies, and reduce redundancy? To become less siloed and more collaborative as an industry? To apply technologies in a way that serves unbiased assessment and reduces the burden on reviewers?” 

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