Peer review is the process of evaluating academic, scientific, or professional work. It is ubiquitously used by academic journals to support research integrity by filtering out invalid or poor-quality articles, as well as to ensure that research outcomes are exposed to relevant audiences through their publication in relevant journals. As such, it is a crucial process in scholarly communication and a pillar of the scientific method.
Over recent decades, a significant number of new peer review models have been introduced (most notably for open review), but they have not been accompanied by the development of a clear and consistent nomenclature, leading to confusion. There is also increased support for more openness and transparency in science and research, including peer review, in order to maintain trust in the scholarly ecosystem.
Against this background, in 2019, STM (the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers) recognized the need to support the community in ensuring greater transparency and openness in peer review, which is an essential element of open research. This support includes harmonizing and better communicating definitions of discrete elements of these processes, so that members of the community—whether they be authors, reviewers, editors or readers—can quickly and easily recognize how to more productively participate in the creation and qualification of scholarly content.
An STM Working Group was formed, which developed standard definitions and best practice recommendations for the communication of peer review processes, now available in its version 2.0 form. NISO is now taking on this output and developing it into a version 3.0, which will be made available for public comment and then published as a formal ANSI/NISO standard once it has been reviewed and approved by NISO Voting Members. Initially the taxonomy is designed for peer review of journal articles, but the intention is to expand to other outputs in future (e.g., books), based on demand.