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Wiley survey examines support for peer reviewers

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The results of a recent survey highlight how the peer review process might be improved to better support reviewers. Key findings from the study, carried out by Wiley, include the need for additional training and increased recognition for peer reviewers.

Wiley says it undertook this study in order to identify support gaps and provide recommendations. Almost 3,000 respondents from 115 countries and all major subject areas participated.

'Some 22 million researcher hours over the course of a year were spent reviewing for the top 12 producing publishers alone,' said Verity Warne, author of the study and an associate marketing director at Wiley. 'The aim of this study was to explore the reviewer experience and delve into recognition and training needs of reviewers. There was a particular focus on how these needs may differ by region and career stage.'

An analysis of responses to the survey revealed the following:

  •     77 per cent of respondents are interested in receiving further reviewer training;
  •     Most peer review training comes from journal guidelines or advice from supervisors or colleagues;
  •     Reviewers believe that reviewing should carry more weight in their institutions’ evaluation process;
  •     Reviewers would rather receive feedback and recognition from journals over financial rewards;
  •     Journal rank is important to potential reviewers; and
  •     There is a need to increase the reviewer pool especially in high-growth and emerging regions of the world and among early career researchers.

One recommendation from the study was to establish centrally funded reviewer training programs. The demand both at the individual and institutional level creates opportunities for publishers to provide these services and become valuable partners for research institutions in emerging markets, Wiley says. The article points to a set of core competencies as has been previously advocated, as a potential framework for such programs.

'In the last 12 months Wiley has been exploring new approaches to recognition and reward, including a current partnership with Publons,' said Warne. 'Wiley has also launched a reviewer resource centre that is available to all reviewers globally.'

'The role of the peer reviewer as expert and guardian of quality in research publishing is as important as ever,' said Philip Carpenter, executive vice president for research at Wiley. 'The research undertaken by the Wiley team highlights opportunities for increased support and recognition of reviewers.'