Data from an eLife Early Career Researcher Group survey


At a recent meeting about journal peer review, one of the key outcomes was the realization that there needs to be a greater effort to recognize the scholarly contributions of graduate students and postdocs.


“Ghostwriting” of peer reviews, whereby the name of graduate students and postdocs is not passed on to, acknowledged or collected by the journal, but is instead submitted solely under the name of the PI is an apparently widespread but unrecognized phenomenon. For example, data in a recent survey conducted by the eLife Early Career Researcher Group, showed that nearly 60% of graduate students and postdocs surveyed saw no involvement by their supervisor in preparing a peer review report.


It’s clear that a number of journals do recognize that early career researchers are involved in the peer review process – but which ones? What do they require in the reporting of co-reviewers, and what language sets the expectation for this reporting? To which journals can early career researchers be directing their efforts to participated in, and be recognized for, peer review? And by recognize, this does not mean publicly disclosing the names – merely that the journal editor knows who has really carried out the review, likely key data in a climate where it is claimed there are too few reviewers to carry out all peer review.


We are therefore excited to announce, as part of an upcoming project at Future of Research on recognizing the contribution of and empowering early career researchers, that we are partnering with a number of actors in this space to collaborate on TRANSPOSE, a new, grassroots initiative aiming to crowdsource a list of journal policies for (1) open peer review policies, (2) co-reviewer policies, and (3) pre-printing policies.


On Thursday May 31st at 11am EST, there will be a one-hour online event, to provide a brief overview of the project and run through a tutorial for contributing (It’s very easy, is all done in your browser, and does not require any coding knowledge). Participants can work on contributions together and give feedback on how to move the project forward.


To join the Meeting:
To join via phone:
1) Dial:  +1.408.740.7256 (United States) – see all numbers –
2) Enter Conference ID : 196575935


Info below, and more on this initiative, from ASAPBio here:



While there are fantastic databases that indicate whether archiving a preprint is allowed (Sherpa/RoMEO) and whether journals are partnered with Publons, to our knowledge, there is no database of information on topics such as:

  • the openness of peer review (whether the content of peer reviews and the identities of reviewers are published, or whether reviews can be transferred to other journals),
  • recognition for peer review (whether postdoc co-reviewers are acknowledged),
  • detailed policies on preprinting (for example, what version is ok to post, whether preprints can be cited, and what licenses and media coverage of preprints are permitted).

Without this kind of information, it’s difficult to monitor or advocate for changes that would make scholarly publishing more open and fair. It’s also difficult for authors to easily compare different journals to make choices that support their needs and interests in open communication.