At Wellcome Open Research, we operate a model of post-publication open peer review . We believe this will encourage constructive feedback from experts focused on helping the authors improve their work.
There are many other models of open peer review out there that work in different ways. In most models, the reviewer is named and it is seen as a way of crediting them for their work. We go a step further by not only naming them, but we also include their full reports as part of published article. Each peer review report also has its own DOI that can be added to ORCiD profiles, which also ensures peer reviewers get credit for their work.
Open peer review as a two-way conversation
Open peer review could also be described as a way of giving reviewers a voice as their critique and insight often helps shape what is the final article. Although the peer reports and reviewers’ names are readily available, we don’t often hear from reviewers, so were interested to explore what the conversation between author and reviewer looks like.
CRISPR for the community
Jürg Bähler, María Rodríguez-López and their team decided to try to refine the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technique for yeast based on questions that were raised on a community email distribution list. They saw their work as being a valuable resource in helping others in their research and were keen to get it out there quickly. This was one of the main reasons that they decided to publish their Method Article on Wellcome Open Research.
Peer reviewed by the community
Once published, Jürg, María and colleagues then needed to decide who had the most appropriate expertise to review their article. This can be particularly important in niche fields as authors are best placed to know who should review their work. In this instance, Jürg and María thought it would be good to invite Damien Helmand to review as they knew his work, and also knew he was interested in this specific technique from questions he raised on the email distribution list. Damien agreed and invited two of his PhD students, Carlo Yague-Sanz and Olivier Finet, to review with him as a way of gaining experience in peer review. Carlo and Olivier are also named alongside Damien as reviewers of the article. Credit where credit is due.
Exploring the living article’s publishing process
After the article passed peer review, we went to meet with Jürg, María, Damien and Carlo to hear their views on the publication process, open peer review and how versioning has helped make a living article.