- Drummond Rennie, deputy editor1,
- Annette Flanagin, managing deputy editor1,
- Fiona Godlee, editor in chief2,
- Trish Groves, deputy editor2
The primary aims of biomedical peer review are to select and improve research and other academic work for funding and publication by identifying and reducing bias and increasing the validity, quality, credibility, and worth of scientific reports. This remains a difficult balance.1 Widespread advances in technology and communications have improved the speed, efficiency, and reach of scientific publication and have transformed the ways scientists, authors, reviewers, editors, clinicians, and the public interact with information and with each other. But these same advances also threaten the very nature of peer review and scientific publication. The need to critically evaluate the purpose, foundations, developments, and future prospects of this entire enterprise—from research proposal through and beyond publication—has never been stronger.
Since the first announcement in 1986, we have held six peer review congresses at four yearly intervals, with the aim of placing peer review and scientific publication under the same evaluation that science undergoes. The success of these congresses is clear from the stimulus they have given to new research into the processes whereby scientific work is funded, presented and disseminated, peer reviewed, edited, published, enhanced, accessed, and used by others to change practice, influence funding and policy decisions, inspire discourse and debate, and stimulate new research.2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 This progress has been measured in the increase in the number of abstracts submitted to each congress (from 50 for the first to more than 200 for each of the last two) and in Medline citations to peer review research (from 109 in 1994 to 382 in 2010).
We now announce the Seventh International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication to be held in Chicago, Illinois, 8-10 September 2013. This congress, organised by JAMA and the BMJ, will feature three days of presentations of original research. As with the previous congresses, the aims of the 2013 congress are to improve the quality and credibility of peer review and selection processes used by journals and funders; to help advance the quality, efficiency, effectiveness, and equity of biomedical publication; and to increase the dissemination of scientific information throughout the world. As before, we urge scientists, editors, publishers, funders, readers, and all who are interested in the processes by which science is funded and published to get going on their research.
In addition to the topics traditionally dealt with during the peer review congresses, such as the effects of peer review and editorial processes on the quality of scientific reporting,10 abstracts summarising original high quality research on any aspect of scientific peer review, publication, and information exchange are welcome. The box provides examples of suggested topics. We also are eager to see new research on the technological advances and innovations that continue to influence all aspects of biomedical publication and the dissemination of scientific information. The increasing sophistication of research into these issues means that preference will be given to well developed studies with generalisable results (such as multijournal, prospective, multiyear trials and controlled studies). Retrospective studies, systematic reviews, bibliometric and other data analyses, surveys, and other types of studies will also be considered. Abstracts that report new research and findings will be given priority.
Topics of interest for the Seventh International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication
Editorial and peer review decision making and responsibilities
Mechanisms of peer review and editorial decision making used by journals and funders
Evaluations of the quality, validity, and practicality of peer review and editorial decision making
Quality assurance for reviewers and editors
Editorial policies and responsibilities
Editorial freedom and integrity
Peer review of grant proposals
Research and publication ethics
Ethical concerns for researchers, authors, reviewers, editors, publishers, and funders
Authorship, contributorship, and responsibility for published material
Conflicts of interest
Research and publication misconduct
Effects of funding and sponsorship on research and publication
Influence of external stakeholders: funders, journal owners, advertisers and sponsors, policy makers, legal representatives, and the news media
Evaluations of and mechanisms for improving the quality of reporting
Effectiveness of guidelines and standards designed to improve the quality of scientific publication
Evaluations of the quality of print and online information
Quality and reliability of data presentation and scientific images
Quality and use of online supplemental content
Quality and effectiveness of new forms of scientific articles
Models for peer review and scientific publication
Open peer review
Data sharing and access
Prepublication posting and release of information
Postpublication review, communications, and influence
Changes in readership and usage of peer reviewed published content
Presentation, enhancement, and quality of scientific information in multimedia and new media
Quality, use, and effects of publication metrics and usage statistics
Quality and influence of sponsored supplements and related media, grey literature, and other forms of publication
Quality and effectiveness of content tagging, mark-up, and structures
The future of scientific publication
Dissemination of scientific and scholarly information
Methods for improving the quality, efficiency, and equitable distribution of biomedical information
New technologies that affect the quality, integrity, and dissemination of and access to biomedical information
The impact of social networking and new media on science critique and dissemination
The deadline for submission of abstracts is 1 March 2013. Additional announcements and instructions for preparing and submitting abstracts will be available soon on the Peer Review Congress website (www.jama-peer.org).
Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e703
This editorial is being simultaneously published in JAMA.
Competing interests: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf (available on request from the corresponding author) and declare: the Peer Review Congress receives unrestricted grants from various charitable organisations and not for profit and commercial publishers. A list of sponsors of the Sixth International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication is available at http://www.ama-assn.org/public/peer/program_2009.pdf; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.
Provenance and peer review: Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.