An up-and-coming, open-access journal, eNeuro, is pioneering an improved peer review process for scientific papers. In doing so, they are making a big impact.
eNeuro is a relatively new journal (launched in November 2014) run by the Society for Neuroscience. Like it's more traditional counterpart, The Journal of Neuroscience, eNeuro publishes high-quality, broad-based, peer-reviewed research from the field of neuroscience.
In some ways eNeuro is following the current trends that are working to make scientific publishing better. For example, they are fully open-access and online, publishing articles upon acceptance without formal volumes or issues.
In others ways, eNeuro is a trail-blazer at the forefront of improving the peer review process. For example, their review process is somewhat experimental, using new methods to increase both the rapidity and transparency of review. Some of the novel steps that they have implemented are:
- Double Blind Review - The review process maintains the anonymity of both the reviewers and the authors. Identifying information is removed before the review process, and authors are asked to eliminate information from the body of the manuscript that identifies the laboratory.
- Consensus - After the manuscript is reviewed, reviewers are invited into a consensus review process mediated by the Reviewing Editor to make sure that the decision is reached as a full consensus between reviewers and editor. The Reviewing Editor then provides a review summary laying out exactly what changes or experiments would be needed for acceptance, or why the manuscript was rejected. This consensual decision means that the reviewers and editor speak with one voice. Nothing is hidden and the decision does not accompany contradictory suggestions for improving the paper. (This part of the process was really pioneered at eLife.)
- Transparency - There are no confidential remarks to the editor. If there is something wrong in the paper or a doubt about the work, it is conveyed directly to the authors.
These steps were put in place to give authors a fair assessment of their work, with any additional experiments requested thoroughly justified, while maintaining high standards of peer review.
The journal publishes much more than research papers. Editorials are published regularly, written by the editor-in-chief Christophe Bernard, that describe some of the review processes used at eNeuro. Looking at some of the titles (Rethinking the Failure to Replicate, Experimental Bias in Electrophysiological Studies, Improving the Way Science is Done, Evaluated, and Published, Transparency Must Prevail) it is easy to see where the emphasis of the journal lies.
eNeuro strives to make the peer review process a new experience for authors and readers while focusing on bringing the best neuroscience research to the forefront. The journal welcomes reviews, method papers, commentaries and opinions, offering the neuroscience community a broad spectrum of information.
You can find the latest issue on their website at http://www.eneuro.org in addition to the editorials that further describe the work they're doing. (eNeuro doesn't have a presence on Twitter yet, but, they can be followed under the SfN handle @SfNtweets.)