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Why the “Who” of Peer Review is Important

Diversity - on many fronts - matters

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by Matt Giampoala, Randy Townsend and Paige Wooden. Giampoala serves as the vice president for publications for the American Geophysical Union (AGU), where he oversees its journals, books, and preprint programs. He has led efforts in expanding access and engagement through open science and reproducibility initiatives and is an advocate for promoting equity and inclusion in scholarly publishing. Townsend sits on the board for the Society of Scholarly Publishing, the advisory board for the AM&P Network’s Association’s Council, is the chair for CSE’s Webinar Subcommittee and on ISMTE’s programming committee. He is the inaugural editor-in-chief for the GW Journal of Ethics in Publishing and an associate professor for the MPS in Publishing program at George Washington University. Wooden serves as senior program manager, Publication Statistics for the American Geophysical Union (AGU). She works on data projects on editorial operations, post-publication metrics and member data to inform department and enterprise strategy.

This year marks 125 years that the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU’s) publications have been in operation. The foundation of AGU’s 22 journals and portfolio of books is built on the long tradition of robust peer review. While we at AGU are committed to peer review’s value in strengthening and deepening scientific discourse, there are elements embedded in our traditional practices that need revision to ensure that scientific discourse is truly inclusive and beneficial for all. A major pillar of AGU’s strategic plan is promoting and exemplifying an inclusive scientific culture. This includes the way in which we conduct peer review.

AGU is, like most scholarly publishers, committed to reducing reviewer fatigue, expanding reviewer pools, and diversifying the representation of our volunteer referees. We recently launched a co-reviewer pilot program to offer guidance and mentorship to early career researchers and new contributors, and to attract qualified referees who might have been unsure how to get involved. As the mantra of “following the science” is increasingly used to legitimize key decisions impacting society at large, it elevates the urgency to protect the integrity of our process so that it remains both un-compromised and inclusive.

Please select this link to read the complete article from The Scholarly Kitchen.

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