Keynote lecture. The future of peer review

Peer review, the process by which research output is subjected to scrutiny and critical assessment by experts, has long been considered a key component of scholarly publishing. Its shortcomings have been highlighted before, but now there are concerns that peer review is in crisis, some going so far as to say it is ‘broken’. There is also growing unrest amongst researchers with the traditional peer-review model. There are calls for greater transparency and openness to be brought to a process that has been largely secret and anonymous since it was introduced nearly three hundred years ago. Scholarly publishing is going through a period of dramatic change and facing considerable challenges. New publication models are being introduced, and new players are entering the field. Peer review is facing similar issues, undergoing both disruption and innovation, with a number of initiatives being set up outside traditional journals. Will peer review survive? What will it look like? Who will be running it? And how will it cope as the range and volume of research output increases?


Speaker biography

After gaining a PhD in Cell Biology, Irene Hames (@irenehames) moved into scientific publishing and has worked on scholarly journals and books for over 30 years, spending 20 years as the managing editor of a large, international science journal. She now works as an independent editorial consultant to the publishing, higher education and research sectors. Irene has been a member of a number of working parties on peer review, and in 2011 was the specialist advisor to the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee for its inquiry into peer review and the resulting report, Peer Review in Scientific Publications.She is the author of the book Peer Review and Manuscript Management in Scientific Journals: guidelines for good practice, published by Wiley-Blackwell in association with ALPSP. Irene is a Council Member, Director and Trustee of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics), and produced the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. She also holds advisory roles with Sense About Science and the International Society of Managing and Technical Editors. In December 2011 she was made a Fellow of the Society of Biology.