Announcing a new initiative to help speed the peer review of COVID-19 articles

PeerJ is pleased to announce that we are joining several other scholarly publishers in a new initiative to maximize the efficiency of peer review, to help ensure that key work related to COVID-19 is reviewed and published as quickly and openly as possible.

The group of publishers and scholarly communications organizations — initially comprising eLife, Hindawi, PeerJ, PLOS, Royal Society, F1000 Research, FAIRsharing, Outbreak Science, and PREreview — is working on initiatives and standards to speed up the review process while ensuring rigor and reproducibility remain paramount. Together, we have issued an Open Letter of Intent, which launches this initiative and we are calling for volunteer reviewers with suitable expertise relevant to COVID-19, from all career stages and disciplines, to add their names to a list of volunteer “COVID-19 rapid reviewers “. By doing so, these reviewers will be committing to rapid reviewing times, and an upfront agreement that their reviews and identity can be shared among participating publishers and journals if submissions get rerouted for any reason.

Additionally, the group is asking all potential reviewers, whether they sign up to the rapid reviewer list or not, to help identify and highlight important and crucial COVID-19 preprints as early as possible, to optimize the limited time of expert reviewers who are subsequently invited to review the most important and promising research by a journal/platform. The more rigorous and helpful review of preprints that can occur during this time, the better for all reviewers, authors, and editors.

Alongside all of this is a persistent call for openness by default–for the preprint, research, underlying data, models, code, materials — to maximize reproducibility and credibility, which is especially important during this time of crisis.

With this announcement, PeerJ calls on any interested volunteers to read the Open Letter of Intent, and consider signing up as a rapid reviewer here.

Read the full press-release here.