How Can The Peer Review Process Support Research Integrity? Read!

How can the peer review process support research integrity?
How can the peer review process support research integrity?

In this Review Week is a Peer Review Week, Yousuf Al-Mousawi is a Senior Editorial Assistant at F1000, discusses the ways Gates Open Research helps to build confidence in research while ensuring the integrity of research.

In simple terms, integrity of research is the practice of conducting research in a proper manner to allow others to be confident in the research that is produced. This includes gathering enough data using proper methods, and then presenting the information and presenting the findings effectively and making decisions which can be substantiated using the data. Research integrity is also dependent on transparency (for instance, the authors and reviewers who declare any conflicts of interest that could arise) as well as ensuring every research is conducted with integrity testing animals and human subjects as well as the surrounding environment are treated in a responsible manner.

At Gates Open Research, we have a strong commitment to ensuring research integrity through an transparent and open peer review model that allows reviewers, and people from the scientific community, can look over research published, evaluate the quality and the rigor of the research and ensure that the proper methods of research have been used. It is equally important for us to ensure that the process of peer review is objective, thorough and independent.

Checks prior to publication that confirm the integrity of research and its quality

Each submission goes through a set of thorough checks prior to publishing to Gates Open Research. These checks are designed to make sure that research that is published on the Platform fulfills our standard standards regarding the authorship process, ethics, as well as data.

Our in-house editorial team takes the time to examine all submissions to make sure that each article

  • The book was (co-)authored by a Gates-funded researcher
  • It does not contain any instances of plagiarism.
  • Conforms to all ethical guidelines pertaining to the conduct of research
  • Will be clear about any potential conflicts of interests
  • Meets Open Data guidelines as well as policies
  • Has the proper protocols that makes the data useable

What exactly are ethical and research integrity issues that our editorial checks seek to address?

Our editorial reviews aim to make sure the ethical standards related to the research have been followed For example, humans have consented to take part in the study, have relevant results communicated as well as that all test subjects as well as the environment are treated in a respectful manner. The editorial team examines every submission for this , and asks authors to submit confirmation declarations. Reviewers can also highlight any instances where they think ethical guidelines be violated.

Our editorial reviews also seek to address concerns about potential conflicts of interests – we will not allow for any significant conflicts of interests between reviewers and authors to ensure integrity and fairness of the peer-review procedure. To ensure this reviewers must identify any possible conflicts of interest they may have with the authors or with other aspects of the paper (e.g. the products used).

Additionally, our model for publication is designed to ensure that research is conducted in a correct manner by implementing a comprehensive peer review process that is customized to the specific type of article. Reviewers are required to respond to questions from the Reviewer Questionnaire that are specifically tailored to the specific type of article that is being evaluated.

What is the post-publication, transparent peer-review model for Gates Open Research support research integrity?

It is the system of peer reviews that are open to all that includes the open commenting system for users, permits the participation of the larger academic community and our editorial team to evaluate the results of research. This greatly aids us in maintaining the integrity of our research.

Additionally, it allows for an in-depth review of the scientific content the paper, the open commenting system can also bring benefits. For instance, reviewers are thoroughly screened for possible conflicts of interest prior to inviting them to read their reviews, and when we request reviewers to notify us about any conflicts of interest prior to when they submit their reviews In rare instances, reviewers aren’t required to reveal all their possible conflicts of interests (whether they intentionally acted untruthful, or not like when they didn’t believe the conflict was sufficient to warrant disclosure). In any case, it is a risk to undermine research integrity in particular if the unreported conflict of interest is the source of bias by reviewers that affects the accuracy of their review.

Since Gates Open Research’s open peer review model demands the identities of reviewers to be revealed and that other reviewers/readers have the ability to communicate with the editorial team when they read an article and discover unreported conflicts of interest. In previous instances our editorial team has contact with the reviewer concerned to verify the issues and, if required, ask for an updated conflict of interests declaration that can be added retrospectively in their report on peer review (with an edit) to ensure greater transparency.
 This helps in maintaining the integrity of research.


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