One of the early goals for Sciety was to have an article evaluated by more than one group. We liked this goal because it demonstrates the value in bringing evaluations from a diverse group of evaluators and curators together but also exhibits something that isn’t obvious in the journal world - that more than one set of experts can have opinions about a particular paper.
As we discussed in a previous post, preprints come with many benefits for authors, readers, reviewers, practitioners and a host of others working within the ecosystem. We’ve also highlighted that recent groups joining Sciety have a shared research area but different approaches to how they evaluate preprints.
Sciety leverages the advantage that preprints offer, that they can be evaluated by more than one entity in a way that traditional journal submissions cannot. The form these evaluations take may range from multi-part peer reviews to automated screenings and may be accumulated over time from a multitude of sources. In these cases, not only has the author gained valuable insights from reputable and trusted peers, the readers benefit from multiple perspectives that inform their own interpretation.
On Sciety, the article is enriched with diverse opinions alongside information about subsequent versions as the authors respond to feedback, transforming it into a living document accessible to all. The unique activity feed linked to each article facilitates this scenario by displaying every evaluation as an event linked to a particular group.
Recent examples of articles with more than one evaluation from different groups:
- A good example of the three groups that focus on COVID-19 preprints (NCRC, RR:C19 and ScreenIT) all presenting their evaluations within 2 weeks of the preprint being posted: Evidence for increased breakthrough rates of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in BNT162b2 mRNA vaccinated individuals
- Both PREreview and eLife reviewed this preprint within the same month: HIV-1 uncoating by release of viral cDNA from capsid-like structures in the nucleus of infected cells
- An example here that received a highlight from preLights and, following 3 new versions from the authors, was later reviewed by eLife: Quantitative Mapping of Human Hair Graying and Reversal in Relation to Life Stress
- A scholar associated with Rapid Reviews: COVID-19 posted an early evaluation on PREreview in this example before it was later reviewed by Rapid Reviews:COVID-19 themselves. It also has a ScreenIT evaluation: Inhaled budesonide in the treatment of early COVID-19 illness: a randomised controlled trial
- Two different examples of Sciety promoting evaluations written by early career researchers - postdocs in these cases: Evolution of mouse circadian enhancers from transposable elements and Induction of C 4 genes evolved through changes in cis allowing integration into ancestral C 3 gene regulatory networks
- Review Commons evaluated this article after a second version was posted by the authors. The first version was itself evaluated by preLights: Combinatorial patterns of graded RhoA activation and uniform F-actin depletion promote tissue curvature
We hope to see many more examples of preprints that have attracted comment from multiple groups, since this will signal the behavioural change we firmly believe in. As a group on Sciety you have the opportunity to add your voice to an existing network of opinions and don’t have to limit yourself to evaluating preprints that others haven’t. We support the formation of new groups and are always keen to hear from experts who are currently, or interested in, evaluating preprints together.
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