Research Topic

Change and Innovation in Manuscript Peer Review: The Effects on the Research Process

About this Research Topic

Academic publishing forms a core element of the research process and is arguably one of the most debated topics in contemporary discussions of what it means to do proper research. Following a host of publishing innovations, there is by now a wide diversity in how researchers disseminate their research findings (e.g. through ‘traditional’ journals, online journals, monographs, edited volumes, pre-print servers, science blogs, or other innovative publishing platforms) as well as in how these are evaluated or reviewed by their peers. However, very little is known about the impact of such diverse dissemination and evaluation practices, leaving many open questions regarding the effect of publishing and review innovations on epistemic, commercial, normative, and social aspects of knowledge production and dissemination.

This Research Topic aims to combine insights from studies of scholarly manuscript peer review from various research traditions and disciplines. It focuses on changes, innovations, and novel models in review and assessment practices in scholarly publishing. These might include models such as registered reports, various models of ‘open’ peer review, post-publication review, and review models supported by semi-automated tools. Studies on changes in publishing practices from editorial to single- or double-blind peer review in disciplines where such practices are new (e.g. law studies) are equally welcome. Specific interest will be given to manuscripts addressing how such changes and novel models in manuscript peer review have affected scholarly publishing. Some consequences that have hitherto remained largely unstudied include how evaluation procedures have fostered or hindered diversity (e.g. in contributors, topics, methods, publication formats, audience or outreach), how they have impacted various notions of research quality, or how they have led to different social arrangements among researchers. Moreover, reflections on the core motivations of scholars, editors, and publishers to come up with innovative models, and the issues involved in implementing them are welcomed to this Research Topic as they have received little attention so far.

This Research Topic invites contributions to scholarly publishing and its evaluation mechanisms from all disciplinary backgrounds. It particularly encourages work on changes and innovations in review procedures in diverse publishing contexts, e.g. journal articles, book publishing, preprint archives, etc. Contributions could focus on but are not restricted to, the impact of such novel review procedures on the diversity of contributors (gender, academic age, cultural/geographical background), on the diversity of topics, methods, and research traditions, and on notions of research quality and research integrity. Submissions establishing links between different review practices in diverse publishing formats (books, journal articles, etc.) and studies of the motivations behind, and implementation of novel review procedures are also highly welcomed. Finally, we invite manuscripts connecting research practices and publishing practices and encourage contributions that relate to Open Science developments to publishing formats and review processes.


Keywords: Peer review, Academic Publishing, Publishing innovations, Editorial evaluation, Research Practices


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Academic publishing forms a core element of the research process and is arguably one of the most debated topics in contemporary discussions of what it means to do proper research. Following a host of publishing innovations, there is by now a wide diversity in how researchers disseminate their research findings (e.g. through ‘traditional’ journals, online journals, monographs, edited volumes, pre-print servers, science blogs, or other innovative publishing platforms) as well as in how these are evaluated or reviewed by their peers. However, very little is known about the impact of such diverse dissemination and evaluation practices, leaving many open questions regarding the effect of publishing and review innovations on epistemic, commercial, normative, and social aspects of knowledge production and dissemination.

This Research Topic aims to combine insights from studies of scholarly manuscript peer review from various research traditions and disciplines. It focuses on changes, innovations, and novel models in review and assessment practices in scholarly publishing. These might include models such as registered reports, various models of ‘open’ peer review, post-publication review, and review models supported by semi-automated tools. Studies on changes in publishing practices from editorial to single- or double-blind peer review in disciplines where such practices are new (e.g. law studies) are equally welcome. Specific interest will be given to manuscripts addressing how such changes and novel models in manuscript peer review have affected scholarly publishing. Some consequences that have hitherto remained largely unstudied include how evaluation procedures have fostered or hindered diversity (e.g. in contributors, topics, methods, publication formats, audience or outreach), how they have impacted various notions of research quality, or how they have led to different social arrangements among researchers. Moreover, reflections on the core motivations of scholars, editors, and publishers to come up with innovative models, and the issues involved in implementing them are welcomed to this Research Topic as they have received little attention so far.

This Research Topic invites contributions to scholarly publishing and its evaluation mechanisms from all disciplinary backgrounds. It particularly encourages work on changes and innovations in review procedures in diverse publishing contexts, e.g. journal articles, book publishing, preprint archives, etc. Contributions could focus on but are not restricted to, the impact of such novel review procedures on the diversity of contributors (gender, academic age, cultural/geographical background), on the diversity of topics, methods, and research traditions, and on notions of research quality and research integrity. Submissions establishing links between different review practices in diverse publishing formats (books, journal articles, etc.) and studies of the motivations behind, and implementation of novel review procedures are also highly welcomed. Finally, we invite manuscripts connecting research practices and publishing practices and encourage contributions that relate to Open Science developments to publishing formats and review processes.


Keywords: Peer review, Academic Publishing, Publishing innovations, Editorial evaluation, Research Practices


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 January 2021 Abstract
26 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 January 2021 Abstract
26 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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