Three weeks ago we announced a cross-publisher collaboration with the aim of ensuring research related to COVID-19 is reviewed and published as quickly as possible. There has been an overwhelmingly positive response from the academic community and we want to extend our thanks to the over 1,500 researchers who have signed up as rapid reviewers.
The response has been global, with academics from over 85 countries adding their names to the list.
And every one of these reviewers has committed to rapid turnaround times and that their reviews and identity can be shared among publishers and journals, if submissions get rerouted for any reason. We believe this will ensure relevant research is reviewed and published quickly and efficiently.
We have had additional publishers and journals sign up too. More can join if they contact Sarah Greaves at Hindawi and Phil Hurst at the Royal Society. Publishers need to agree to all points in the letter of intent we published on the OASPA website.
One of the most important aspects of this collaboration is our agreement to transfer papers between publishers. If a submission is more appropriate elsewhere, before or after review, we will transfer the paper to that journal with any reviews it has already had if the author agrees. This transfer mechanism is common internally within publishing houses and a handful of research communities but until now few publishers have worked together in this way to the benefit of academics.
We hope this will reduce the time for COVID-19 papers to be published; as all the data indicates researchers across STEM often submit papers to at least three journals, receiving peer reviewer reports and editor comments at all those titles before they are published. This small step, specifically around COVID-19 papers, should allow those reports to be reused at other journals if the paper is rejected at the original title – hopefully speeding up the review and publication process.
We also continue to call on all publishers to actively facilitate posting of COVID-19 preprints to preprint servers with the agreement of the authors, to consider comments on preprints during the journal peer-review process and to ensure all COVID-19 submissions include a mandatory data availability statement, if they do not already do this for all submissions.
Since the launch, GigaScience, Ubiquity Press and Life Science Alliance have all come on board as new publisher collaborators. We are in conversation with others and look forward to welcoming them in the near future.
Chief Publishing Officer, Hindawi