Alice Meadows's picture

Peer review is central to the evaluation of research - not just for journal article publication, but also for conference programming, for awarding grants, and for making hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions.  Surveys continue to show that researchers themselves trust peer review above any other method of evaluation. A 2014 study on trust and authority in scholarly communications, conducted by CIBER Research and the University of Tennessee, concluded, among other things, that peer review is “the second most general important characteristic, but the first most important trustworthiness characteristic.” However, there has been some recent high-profile criticism of the peer review process, such as this October 2013 article in The Economist.  In addition, researchers themselves are increasingly concerned about the lack of recognition for peer review - both of the value it adds to the research process and the amount of time they dedicate to it.

In an effort to address this challenge, publishers, funders, and others (including specialist peer review organizations like Publons and PRE) are starting to collect ORCID iDs to help recognize those individuals who participate in review activities.

As described in a recent post, we collaborated with CASRAI and Faculty of 1000 last year  to convene a community working group to define a standard field set and business rules that will work across the many types of peer review used in publishing, funding, university research management, and conference presentations.  We are now working on implementing the group’s recommendations for a peer review activity data profile - a standardized description of peer review activities that will help make them more easily shared and recognized.

This fall ORCID is rolling out a program to enable organizations to uniquely attribute review activity to individuals. Researchers reviewing for participating organizations will provide their ORCID iD when accepting a peer review assignment and, upon completion, the organization will post an acknowledgement of this activity to the reviewer's ORCID record if the researcher has granted permission to do so.

As noted above, review recognition isn't limited to peer review journals. We are encouraging review listings as diverse as conference proceeding reviews, post-publication annotations, grant reviews, and academic reviews to enable exposure to the broad array of scholarly contributions that are made through reviews. Review listings are also flexible enough to accommodate the whole spectrum of review types -  from completely anonymous to fully open.

Following an open invitation for organizations to join our Early Adopters peer review program, and an introductory webinar in early June, we now have about 10 participants in the program, several of whom - including Faculty of 1000 and the journal Politics & Religion - could be launching their peer review implementations as early as September/October this year. ORCID membership is not required in order to collect and include iDs, so we’re hoping that many more organizations will use this free service to help uniquely identify researchers who are participating in this important work.

Throughout the summer we will be working with our early adopters and others to help ensure that researchers get the credit they deserve for their peer review activities. And it's not too late to get involved - we are still accepting applications for organizations that are interested in participating in the Early Adopters program.