Responsible Journals – a database of editorial processes


Platform for Responsible Editorial Policies (PREP) is a new initiative and platform which promotes responsible editorial policies for research journals with evidence-informed advice to editors and publishers.

There is a general concern about the effectiveness, quality and transparency of the journal peer review system. For decades, several studies have suggested that the peer review system is slow, ineffective, inconsistent and non-transparent. In response, some key players in scientific publishing have expressed their willingness to address these issues, but they encounter a lack of convincing information to warrant editorial policy changes. In addition, scholars studying scientific publishing have expressed worries about the opaqueness of editorial policies, hindering further research on peer review.

PREP was established to address exactly these concerns. In cooperation with publishing professionals, PREP also aligns with the growing movement towards more transparency and openness in science. In addition, PREP contributes to responsible practices for evaluating journals, following a recent call for more pluralistic approaches to journal assessment.

The PREP platform offers:

  • A database documenting journals’ current editorial procedures.
  • A simple questionnaire that allows editors to characterize their current procedures and that allows us to provide suggestions for potential improvements.
  • An overview of current review procedures and knowledge about their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Suggestions on how to improve the transparency of editorial policies.

    With these features, the platform hopes to contribute to more transparency of editorial policies and support editors with suggestions on potential editorial improvements, as well as providing a resource for research on peer review.

    If you are a journal editor, visit the site to add your journal to the database now.

    The team behind PREP are also involved in a new project, organised in collaboration with TRANSPOSE, involving key figures involved in open science fields, technology developers, researchers and publishers, to increase the clarity and transparency of journal policies along five key areas:

  • Priority 1: Making databases more accessible (e.g. with open licensing such as CC0)
    Priority 2: Establish more transparent documentation to better enable others to evaluate how data are generated, coded, and validated
    Priority 3: Enhance the interoperability of databases and systems
    Priority 4: Enhance communication between groups and organisations, do reduce redundancy and waste
    Priority 5: Support greater range of active collaborative work

    There is great potential for some significant advancements in our understandings of the peer review and publishing processes, and this project could well be able to help provide some information to further this goal.