May 21, 2022

Journal Article: “Meta-Research: Journal Policies and Editors’ Opinions on Peer Review”

The following article was recently published by eLife.


Meta-Research: Journal Policies and Editors’ Opinions on Peer Review


Daniel G Hamilton
University of Melbourne

Hannah Fraser
University of Melbourne

Rink Hoekstra
University of Groningen

Fiona Fidler
University of Melbourne


DOI 10.7554/eLife.62529


Peer review practices differ substantially between journals and disciplines. This study presents the results of a survey of 322 editors of journals in ecology, economics, medicine, physics and psychology. We found that 49% of the journals surveyed checked all manuscripts for plagiarism, that 61% allowed authors to recommend both for and against specific reviewers, and that less than 2% used a form of open peer review. Most journals did not have an official policy on altering reports from reviewers, but 91% of editors identified at least one situation in which it was appropriate for an editor to alter a report. Editors were also asked for their views on five issues related to publication ethics. A majority expressed support for co-reviewing, reviewers requesting access to data, reviewers recommending citations to their work, editors publishing in their own journals, and replication studies. Our results provide a window into what is largely an opaque aspect of the scientific process. We hope the findings will inform the debate about the role and transparency of peer review in scholarly publishing.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.