The quality and integrity of peer review in Higher Education research has been put firmly in the spotlight by the European Journal of Higher Education (EJHE), published by Taylor & Francis. All articles submitted from April 2023 will, if accepted, have their reviewer reports published at the same time, as part of a one-year pilot.
The EJHE peer review process itself will remain the same, with reports on manuscripts under consideration received from two or three referees before an editorial decision is made. However, when an article is published on Taylor & Francis Online, a link will be included to an open access report containing the anonymous peer reviews from all rounds of review. Authors and reviewers will be made aware of the policy before they submit an article or agree to review.
The editors and associate editors of EJHE, Marco Seeber, Manja Klemenčič, Michele Meoli and Cristina Sin, explain in a new editorial that, at a time when there are “threats to research ethics in scientific publishing”, they expect “publishing the peer review reports will showcase that the peer review process is rigorous, high quality and fair.”
EJHE will be the first Higher Education research journal to operate a transparent peer review model. It is also the first Taylor & Francis journal to do so, and the publisher will use the results of this pilot to inform plans being developed for other peer review programs.
Katrina Hulme Cross, Portfolio Manager for Taylor & Francis Higher Education journals said, “Taylor & Francis is very supportive of innovative publishing models, in fact all our F1000 platforms already operate transparent peer review. So, we were very keen to work with the EJHE editors to develop their idea for this trial, which has required a fair amount of planning and technology development. We now look forward to seeing what impact it has on improving the experience for authors, reviewers and readers.”
The EJHE editors expect some researchers will be more willing to peer review for a journal with a transparent approach, although they acknowledge others may be hesitant. They also anticipate that, while some authors may be more reluctant to submit to the journal, others will appreciate the benefits of demonstrating that their work has gone through a rigorous peer review process before publication. The editors therefore plan to monitor closely the effect of transparent peer review on submissions and reviews and to canvass input from the academic community before any decisions are made on whether to continue beyond the pilot.
EJHE is published by Taylor & Francis under the Routledge imprint, in partnership with the Consortium of Higher Education Researchers.