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Emerald pilots crowd review process with Filestage to enhance peer review collaboration

Emerald Publishing is piloting a crowd review process with Filestage to enhance the peer review process and improve the quality and speed of publishing.

Filestage provides a web application that enables easy sharing, commenting and approving of documents in the browser. Reviewers can mark required changes to files directly online, replacing long feedback rounds by e-mail and making the review workflow more efficient. The crowd review process was invented by Professor Benjamin List form the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research (Mülheim a. d. Ruhr, Germany). The application was first introduced in publishing for Thieme’s journals SYNLETT in 2017 and SynOpen since 2018.

The crowd review process is an interactive, collaborative way to improve the quality and speed of publishing, with reviews being received on average within seven days, in comparison to most standard peer review processes which can take up to 60 days.
As part of the pilot, a select crowd of 30-50 reviewers will receive a link to the manuscript and have the ability to comment on it directly and anonymously via Filestage, a secure web interface. The interface also enables reviewers to interact with each other through the commenting functionality to improve collaboration between reviewers, the quality and usefulness of the feedback and remove the risk of bias by crowd intelligence.

The trial has been introduced to three of Emerald’s journals:
•    Emerging Markets Case Studies
•    International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education
•    Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research

Tony Roche, Emerald’s Director of Publishing and Strategic Relationships, comments: “With new models of scholarly communication emerging, Emerald is excited to partner with Filestage and our communities, to explore novel ways of supporting peer review.  We are excited to learn how this new model resonates with our reviewers and authors, to advance quality and speed in peer review.”.

Dr Susanne Haak, Senior Director Thieme Chemistry Journals, comments “Select Crowd Review helped our journals to significantly reduce the time between submission and first decision on participating manuscripts and eventually on their publication times in general. We are impressed with the engagement and in-depth quality of feedback from the crowd members of which our authors profit the most.”