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Federica Napolitani1, Annarita Barbaro2 and Maria Cristina Barbaro1


1Scientific Communication Service, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy

2Knowledge Service/Library, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy



Open peer-review (OPR) is an “umbrella” term for a number of innovations in the peer-review procedure that aim to make traditional peer review more transparent, inclusive, accountable and reliable. This emerging practice conforms to the principles of the Open Science movement that promotes increasing transparency and participation in scientific processes and whose rise is supported by the advanced technology developments. The OPR challenge is to open up a system traditionally closed in many ways: the identities of both author and reviewer can be revealed to each other; the manuscripts can be made immediately available online, before any official peer-review procedures; the reviewer reports can be published together with the articles; experts and the general public can be allowed to comment and contribute to the review process. OPR has gained growing attention recently, but the attitudes in its regards can vary widely. Though many journals already run some form of OPR, it is implemented differently and in different stages of the peer-review process. Today the approach toward OPR is changing as its open interaction and collaborative concept is perceived positively by a new generation of authors, editors and reviewers.


Annali dell’Istituto Superiore di Sanità is an open access journal presently practicing a blind peer-review, but which, potentially, is open to experiment with new, more transparent, forms of reviewing. As today many scholarly journals employ versions of open peer-review in their day-to-day practice, a study was undertaken to analyze a part of the present landscape with the aim to discuss and assess its sustainability and feasibility. The study examines the journals listed in the same category as the Annali (Public, Environmental and Occupational Health) in the 2018 edition of the Journal Citation Reports (JCR, published by Clarivate Analytics) in order to check how many of them practice some kind of OPR.


168 journals were analyzed in order to determine if they employ some form of OPR and at which level. Preliminary results show that most of the journals listed in the JCR Public, Environmental and Occupational Health category still use traditional peer-review, considering it as an added value to their publishing practice.

Definitive results will be presented and discussed in the poster presented at the EAHIL Conference.


OPR was first mentioned as a possible alternative method to classic peer-reviewing at the end of the 80s. Nowadays, about forty years later, it has become an increasingly emerging practice in scholarly publishing. The many faults and bias of traditional peer-review, the general tendency towards a greater openness in all fields including science, and the new technologically advanced platforms available for science journals are all factors that have aided OPR’s rise among science journals.  Even though OPR is still adopted by a minority of journals, it is foreseeable that it will continue to expand its reach in the coming years. However, in order for scholarly journals to fully adopt such a method, standardised models and a clear and accurate definition for the “OPR umbrella” need to be improved.


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