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HOW DO WE ETHICALLY INVOLVE EARLY CAREER RESEARCHERS IN PEER REVIEW?
Peer review is viewed as central to the evaluation of research. Talking to Early Career Researchers, however, we often came across anecdotes of peer review “ghostwriting”: that is, trainees carrying out peer review of a manuscript, writing the report, and submitting it to a supervisor. The supervisor then submits the report (or some version of it) under their own name and without co-reviewer attribution. This led us to ask how often this practice occurred and why it happened. We were also curious as to whether it was unique to the life sciences and, more importantly, what could be done to ensure the recognition of ECR scholarly work?
The aim of this project is to increase transparency around peer review, particularly the practice of co-reviewing, to make sure that future generations are left with a sustainable system for rigorous and recognized peer review for the benefit of researchers, science, and communal trust in the peer review process.
CO-REVIEW AND GHOSTWRITING ARTICLES
We carried out a literature review and a survey of researchers with an emphasis on co-reviewing and ghostwriting. Most respondents believed co-reviewing to be a beneficial and ethical form of training in peer review. About half of the respondents had ghostwritten a peer review report, despite 81% responding that ghostwriting is unethical and 82% agreeing that identifying co-reviewers to the journal is valuable.
PERSPECTIVE AND FLOWCHART
Based on our survey responses, we developed recommendations for ensuring the inclusion, training, and recognition of ECRs’ scholarship in manuscript peer review. We wrote a perspective, created instructional graphics, and developed a flowchart explaining how systemic changes that acknowledge this fact would result in ethical co-reviewing, peer reviews of greater quality, and a reduction in peer reviewer burden.
ECR and their Involvement with Research BY GARY MCDOWELL
Article by former Future of Research President,Gary McDowell about early career researchers and the importance of mentorship. This article appeared in ASAPBIO.
Peer Review Integrity Podcast episode
Helium podcast with Dr. Matt Hotze & Dr. Christine Hendren: Peer Review Integrity: Mentoring Early Career Researchers.