Ever since our elementary school days, we can all recall our teachers telling us to proofread our work.  Many of our classes would have ‘peer review’ as well, with students proofreading and providing critical feedback on each other’s essays in order to improve the quality of their work.  Similarly, peer review in also done in academia in order to determine suitability for publication. The process involves individuals of equal competence and in the same academic field who evaluate the work of a scholar.  Peer review has consistently been noted as the top concern of scholars and is used to maintain the quality, standard, and performance of the publication.   However, it is also important to note that there are many challenges which come with peer review as well.  From a lack of thorough review to potential scams in academic publishing, peer review is a serious matter which is crucial for determining success in academic publishing.  Anyone interested in having well-researched academic journals must have a clear understanding of peer review’s role and challenges in order to further advance the industry.

 One major challenge regarding peer review is the quality of the review itself.  Ideally, we all imagine peer review to be done by experts in the field who provide thorough analysis of the content.  However, that is not always the case.  Many times, the ‘peer’ is someone who is either a put-upon grad student or a recent Ph.D.  In addition, it’s very common for academic work to be untouched by peer from six to even eighteen months! To combat the situation, many academics have attempted alternative methods such as ‘open source review’, which has successfully worked for some. With many academic researchers working months or even years on a specific journal, peer review can become an obstacle for their efforts with the lack of quality feedback in the industry.

 It is also important to note that peer review can also be the target of fraud. A crucial example is the incident at Journal of Vibration and Control under Sage Publications.  While many of us have heard of gambling rings and extortion rings, this situation had a ‘peer review ring’.  Taking advantage of Sage Publications’ peer review policies, ‘aliases’ involved in this ring would create fake emails and create friendly reviews for their journal in order to get as many articles published.  After finding out about the practice, up to sixty articles were retracted and it also led to the resignation of JVC’s Editor-in-Chief.  It’s also important to note that scams in providing fraud content in academic publishing have been increasingly common. This is just one incident. It’s vital for everyone to emphasize the importance of peer review in order to maintain credibility and quality in academic publishing.

 Accountability is an essential factor in every industry.  Peer review is absolutely crucial in order to maintain accountability in academic publishing.  As we work with academic publishers, our team at RedLink understands that it very important to work on these challenges.  What have been your experiences with peer review?  How can we overcome such challenges in peer review?  We would love to hear from you and please email us at social@redlink.com with your feedback!