January 22, 2022

Research Article: “Peer Review and Preprint Policies are Unclear at Most Major Journals”

The following article was recently published by PLOS One.


Peer Review and Preprint Policies are Unclear at Most Major Journals


Tony Ross-Hellauer
Graz University of Technology, Austria

Thomas Klebel
Stefan Reichmann
Jessica Polka
Gary McDowell
Naomi Penfold
Samantha Hindle


PLoS ONE 15(10): e0239518
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0239518


Clear and findable publishing policies are important for authors to choose appropriate journals for publication. We investigated the clarity of policies of 171 major academic journals across disciplines regarding peer review and preprinting. 31.6% of journals surveyed do not provide information on the type of peer review they use. Information on whether preprints can be posted or not is unclear in 39.2% of journals. 58.5% of journals offer no clear information on whether reviewer identities are revealed to authors.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0239518

Around 75% of journals have no clear policy on co-reviewing, citation of preprints, and publication of reviewer identities. Information regarding practices of open peer review is even more scarce, with <20% of journals providing clear information. Having found a lack of clear information, we conclude by examining the implications this has for researchers (especially early career) and the spread of open research practices.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.