Opening the Door on Peer Review

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We are excited to announce that we’ve been awarded a small grant from OpenAire to integrate with Zenodo, a wonderful scholarly repository run on the same infrastructure as CERN.  Our grant aims to implement and test a new model of open peer review by positioning reviews as papers in themselves.

Since our inception we’ve been focused on opening peer review for scholars and the public alike to examine and learn from.  While we have had some success with our own publications we have yet to make a real impact on publications outside The Winnower.  This integration takes us another step forward towards open peer review, not only on The Winnower but on virtually publications.  We hope that our proposal can position open peer review as not just the norm in review but something that is rewarded.

An excerpt from our proposal:

Science thrives by discussion and debate, but some of the most meaningful discussions happen away from the public, in traditional, closed, peer review. Efforts to bring peer review from behind closed doors—to where it can serve the scientific community as a whole—have had varying degrees of success. Chief among the challenges is the lack of incentives for scholars to write and make public high quality reviews. And yet, peer review, more broadly construed, takes place every day amongst individuals, in groups, in labs, in classes around the world, and in the form of organized meetings informally referred to as “journal clubs.”  These discussions—disinterested reviews—tend to happen post-publication, as scholars of all stripes discuss works relevant to their research with their colleagues. Unfortunately, journal club proceedings, like the other forms of peer review, are very rarely published, if only because of the burdens of publishing, and the lack of incentives to do so. Given that these meetings are potentially of enormous benefit to the community, The Winnower will explore if publishing post-publication peer reviews can be incentivized by elevating peer reviews to the same level as original research, with all the affordances and services of scholarly publications. 

As part of our proposal, we will soon be seeking participants willing to commit to making their journal club discussions public, as written reviews.  Participants will help us identify what works and what doesn’t work and what we can do to incentivize all journal clubs to participate.  Because we will be asking these groups questions over a few months we will be paying them a modest amount for their time—yes we’ll be paying you to publish your journal club proceedings! If you’re interested based on this brief information, please email us at and we will include you on a list to receive more information as it develops.

And, as always, please review this post and thank you to OpenAire!

-Josh & Juan