This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to our use of cookies. To find out more, see our Privacy and Cookies policy.
Skip to the content

Share this

Free weekly newswire

Sign up to receive all our latest news direct to your inbox.

Physics on film

100 Second Science Your scientific questions answered simply by specialists in less than 100 seconds.

Watch now

Bright Recruits

At all stages of your career – whether you're an undergraduate, graduate, researcher or industry professional – can help find the job for you.

Find your perfect job

Physics connect

Are you looking for a supplier? Physics Connect lists thousands of scientific companies, businesses, non-profit organizations, institutions and experts worldwide.

Start your search today


Behind the scenes of peer review

By James Dacey



This week is Peer Review Week 2017, a global celebration of the essential role that peer review plays in maintaining scientific quality. The theme of this year’s event is “transparency in review”, exploring how individuals and organizations could be more open at all stages of the scientific process.

Physics World is published by IOP Publishing and I’ve been part of a crack team assembled to take people behind the scenes of our peer-review processes. As the man with a camera, my job was to create a series of videos with my colleagues in the publishing department who deal with peer review on a daily basis.

First up, we have a video message from Marc Gillet, our associate director of publishing operations, introducing our plans for the week (see above). Marc is joined by a selection of staff revealing the role they play in the peer-review process – drawing inspiration from Bob Dylan’s famous flashcard skit for Subterranean Homesick Blues.

Next up, we produced a profile of Lauren Carter, one of our associate editors. You get an inside look at a typical working day in publishing. It’s worth checking out whether you want to learn about peer review, or if you’ve ever thought about a career in publishing.


Of course, academic publishers such as IOP Publishing are always going to argue for the merits of peer review. But what really matters is whether the process meets the needs of the academic community – the people actually doing the scientific research. So we’d like to hear your thoughts on how it could be improved. During this week we’re asking you to describe your perfect peer review in no more than 50 words for a chance to win £50 worth of Amazon vouchers.

You can also get the thoughts on peer review of Phil Moriarty, a nano researcher at the University of Nottingham. In a wide-ranging interview with publisher Ceri-Wyn Thomas, Moriarty gives strong opinions on the strengths and limitations of established peer review system. While agreeing with the broad principle of peer review, Moriarty points out some of the pitfalls of peer review in practice, while sharing ideas for how scientists and publishers could be more open.


Finally, we worked with local company Research Media to create this animated tour of the peer review process at IOP Publishing. Rather than serve up an exhaustive process map of everything single thing we do, we instead created some blue and red cartoon protagonists to act out the key events. We hope you’ll agree that the end result is much more fun.



Naturally, the process of continually improving peer review doesn’t finish at the end of this week. So please share your thoughts and feedback anytime by getting in touch with us on Twitter using the hashtag #PeerRevWk17. For specific issues regarding submissions then please get in touch with the relevant journal on the IOPScience website.

This entry was posted in General and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
View all posts by this author  | View this author's profile

Comments are closed.


  • Comments should be relevant to the article and not be used to promote your own work, products or services.
  • Please keep your comments brief (we recommend a maximum of 250 words).
  • We reserve the right to remove excessively long, inappropriate or offensive entries.

Show/hide formatting guidelines

Tag Description Example Output
<a> Hyperlink <a href="">google</a> google
<abbr> Abbreviation <abbr title="World Health Organisation" >WHO</abbr> WHO
<acronym> Acronym <acronym title="as soon as possible">ASAP</acronym> ASAP
<b> Bold <b>Some text</b> Some text
<blockquote> Quoted from another source <blockquote cite="">IOP</blockquote>
<cite> Cite <cite>Diagram 1</cite> Diagram 1
<del> Deleted text From this line<del datetime="2012-12-17"> this text was deleted</del> From this line this text was deleted
<em> Emphasized text In this line<em> this text was emphasised</em> In this line this text was emphasised
<i> Italic <i>Some text</i> Some text
<q> Quotation WWF goal is to build a future <q cite="">
where people live in harmony with nature and animals</q>
WWF goal is to build a future
where people live in harmony with nature and animals
<strike> Strike text <strike>Some text</strike> Some text
<strong> Stronger emphasis of text <strong>Some text</strong> Some text