In bid to boost transparency, bioRxiv begins posting peer reviews next to preprints | Science | AAAS

“BioRxiv, the server for life sciences preprints, has begun an experiment that allows select journals and independent peer-review services to publicly post evaluations of its papers should the authors make the request.

The idea is to make the peer-review process more transparent, and help authors more easily strengthen their manuscripts before they are submitted to journals. But some authors might balk at making critical reviews of their work available for anyone to read.

The experiment, called Transparent Review in Preprints, launched last week. To run it, bioRxiv has teamed with two publishers and two independent services that are providing peer reviews. In addition to increasing the transparency and usefulness of bioRxiv’s preprints, the initiative is also a platform to test models of “portable” peer reviews, or independent reviews that authors can share with any journal considering their work. (Traditionally, reviews are arranged and reviewed only by the journal considering a particular submission, not a third party.)…”

Transparent review in preprints – Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

“Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) today announced a new pilot project—Transparent Review in Preprints (TRiP)—that enables journals and peer review services to post peer reviews of submitted manuscripts on CSHL’s preprint server bioRxiv.

“The new project is part of broader efforts by bioRxiv to work with other organizations to help the scholarly publishing ecosystem evolve,” said John Inglis, co-founder of bioRxiv at CSHL.

The project is powered by the web annotation tool Hypothesis and will allow participating organizations to post peer reviews in dedicated Hypothesis groups alongside relevant preprints on the bioRxiv website. Authors must opt-in with the journal/service in advance. The use of restricted Hypothesis groups allows participating organizations to control the process and ensure that only reviews they approve are displayed. Readers will continue to be able to post their own reactions to individual preprints through bioRxiv’s dedicated comment section.

eLife and the EMBO Press journals, together with Peerage of Science and Review Commons, two journal-independent peer review initiatives, will be the first to participate. Several other groups plan to join the pilot later, including the American Society for Plant Biology and the Public Library of Science….”

EMBO and ASAPbio to launch a pre-journal portable review platform

“EMBO Press and ASAPbio have partnered to create Review Commons, a platform that peer-reviews research manuscripts in the life sciences before submission to a journal.  

Papers submitted to Review Commons, which will be launched in December 2019, will be assessed by expert referees without regard to any journal to which they might ultimately be submitted, and will be judged exclusively for their scientific rigor and merit. Review Commons will enable authors to publicly post the reviews and their own response to them on the preprint server bioRxiv and to submit their reviewed manuscript to an affiliated journal.


In the scholarly publishing process, reviewers typically evaluate manuscripts after submission to a journal. Beyond the requirement for technical rigor, editors and reviewers tend to be most concerned about whether the work meets the subjective criteria for the journal. If the work is rejected, the peer reviews are typically not reused by another journal. In this way, journal rejections across all fields waste an estimated 15 million hours of reviewer time each year and contribute to long publication delays for authors and readers.[1],[2]


Review Commons aims to accelerate and streamline the process of publishing by conducting high-quality, in-depth peer review of manuscripts before journal submission. Peer reviewers will be asked to evaluate the technical rigour of the work, make suggestions for improvements, and comment on the potential value of the work to specific communities. Authors can direct Review Commons to post reviews and their own responses to bioRxiv through the server’s new Transparent Review in Preprints (TRiP) project, where it will provide rich context for readers of their preprint. If authors decide to submit their work to a journal, it will allow editors to make efficient editorial decisions based on existing referee comments….”

Partnering to streamline review | The Official PLOS Blog

“I’m happy to announce PLOS’ participation in a new service, Review Commons, that will provide a platform for rapid, objective, journal-independent peer reviews for manuscripts and preprints. We are excited to be part of this initiative and to learn from our community’s response how we can rethink peer review to save authors’, reviewers’, and editors’ time and enhance transparency and objectiveness…. 

Created by ASAPbio and EMBO Press, Review Commons will organize a single round of journal-agnostic review for manuscripts in the life sciences submitted to the service. Upon receiving the reviews, the authors can decide to simply post them alongside their preprint on bioRxiv and/or to submit their manuscript — including reviews–to one of the 17 journals affiliated with Review Commons. If the chosen journal decides to proceed with the submission, it commits to not involve new reviewers unless a specific aspect of the article needs to be further evaluated. 

All the PLOS journals within scope — PLOS Biology, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS ONE and PLOS Pathogens — will welcome submissions reviewed at Review Commons. …”