The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), publisher of the Science family of journals, today announced the acquisition of “Peer Review Evaluation” (PRE), a web-based service that promotes public trust in science by making the review of original research more transparent and verifiable.
Offering benefits to readers, publishers, and authors, PRE can be customized to display details about how research articles have been assessed. “By presenting users with a simple visual ‘badge,’ the PRE technology provides information about each step in the peer-review process and the practices and values of journals,” Science Publisher Kent Anderson said. “In this way, PRE will make it easier for everyone to identify articles from legitimate scientific journals and to understand the peer-review history in more detail.”
The technology — launched in 2014 by the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. (JBJS), and acquired by AAAS on 30 June 2015 — is consistent with the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing, Anderson noted. Those principles, established by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), urge participating journals to clearly indicate whether or not articles have been peer-reviewed, and to publicly disclose peer-review procedures.
PRE is already available to users of the JBJS family of journals as well as those published by the American Diabetes Association. PRE will be implemented and made available on the Science journals — Science, Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, and Science Advances — later this year.
PRE will continue to support existing integrations with the HighWire Press publishing platform and with the Aries Systems’ Editorial Manager manuscript system. Integrations with other scholarly publishing platforms and manuscript submission systems are already in development.
Moving forward, AAAS plans to further develop the PRE technology so that it can verify whether or not an author has deposited supporting data to an appropriate repository, said Eric Hall, Product Director for PRE. “Confirming data deposition by authors of accepted papers is a critical, but time-consuming and manual process for editors,” Hall explained. “Next-generation PRE technology will be able to ensure that authors have indeed made their results fully accessible to other researchers who may want to reproduce a study or further review its findings.”
Science Publisher Kent Anderson added that AAAS is also exploring leveraging PRE to support open science practices and the feasibility of certification and training services for peer reviewers and publishers as part of PRE’s development roadmap.
The AAAS acquisition of PRE was handled by Michael Clarke, Joe Esposito, and David Lamb of STM Advisers LLC, with assistance from colleagues at Venable LLP.
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