On Journals Where to Publish …

Another approach to counter this problem is using a system of fully open peer review. BioMed Central operates open peer review on the medical titles in the BMC series (and has done for the past 10 years), and more recently biology titles too, for example, Biology Direct and GigaScience. This ‘openness’ is on two levels. The first is that authors will naturally see the reviewers’ names; the second is that if the article is published, the reading public will also see who reviewed the article and how the authors responded. It makes the process transparent, makes the reviewers more accountable and gives credit. We’ve also found the quality of reviewer reports is higher under a system of open peer review. 

Biology Direct goes further and allows authors to select suitable reviewers from the journal’s Editorial Board, in a fully open and transparent way making peer review truly collaborative. In this scenario, you could indeed have a close colleague openly handle a friends manuscript, but be empowered to choose the hottest critics to review the work openly without fear of accusations of bias. So yes, a potential conflict of interest does not necessarily mean wrong-doing. F1000R value openness in their post-publication peer review approach too.

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