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Peer Review Quality at IOP Publishing: The Future

We never stop working on new ways to support and improve the peer review process at IOP Publishing.

Our aim is to make sure technology isn’t a barrier to reviewers who would like to work with us. We have streamlined our processes in our submission system, ScholarOne Manuscripts, to provide reviewers with clearer and more consistent report forms, and we have updated all our author and reviewer communications to ensure we communicate in Plain English.

Reducing reviewers’ workload is very important to us. Our staff pre-screen submissions to filter out irrelevant or unethical articles before they progress to peer review. This enables reviewers to focus on work that is valuable to the scientific community. In 2018, we estimate this saved reviewers 87,460 hours’ work. We are exploring new technologies to assist our staff in making these decisions. This will increase the consistency of our decisions, improve the quality of the submissions for review and allow us to maintain our excellent peer review speeds for our authors (our average time to first decision is 43 days).

We are also investing in how we manage peer review, with the introduction of two new staff roles dedicated to supporting quality peer review: 

  • Reflecting our strong commitment to diversity and inclusion in academic publishing, and to ensuring that our approach to peer review meets the highest ethical standards, our Research Integrity and Inclusion Manager works with our author and reviewer communities on matters relating to ethics, diversity and inclusion. They also lead our in-house Diversity and Inclusion Publishing Group and our separate Ethics Panel, focusing on increasing the gender and geographical diversity of our reviewers and journal editorial boards, and ensuring IOP Publishing adheres to the highest ethical publishing practices.


  • Meanwhile, our Reviewer Engagement Manager focuses on our reviewer training programme, working closely with early career researchers to ensure we can guide and support them throughout their reviewing career. We are keen to help early career researchers gain knowledge and experience in peer review. Our Publishing Academy programme is designed to help early them navigate the world of publishing in academic journals, including peer review. 

We’re very excited about these two new roles
and the possibilities they will open up, so expect to hear more about what we’re doing to support quality peer review over the next 12 months.