What is an Online Preprint Journal Club (OPJC)?
JMIR Publications is teaming up with PREreview to expand our innovative peer review offerings through live group reviews via Online Preprint Journal Clubs (OPJCs). OPJCs are an innovative form of review aimed at accelerating the peer review process and subsequent publication—authors will receive a written peer review of their manuscript immediately after the OPJC event.
We first ran a pilot of this program in April 2020, to rapidly review a study on early pandemic behaviours; the final version of the manuscript was published in JMIR Public Health & Surveillance and has been well-cited.
This peer review model of “more eyes makes better work” also supports the advancement of Open Science by reducing individual bias toward a manuscript, producing freely available scientific records on the development of a research project, and uniting communities of like-minded scholars in a friendly and collaborative environment.
What do the OPJC events look like?
OPJCs are online Zoom webinars composed of a PhD-level PREreview moderator, the author(s), an invited subject specialist, and reviewer volunteers (whoever wants to attend the webinar). The sessions adhere to a 1-hour block, with the moderators keeping the discussion moving and on topic; all reviewers will have read the manuscript prior to the event.
The PREreview moderator will lead the event, ensuring that all reviewers have a chance to deliver constructive feedback and, in conjunction with the subject specialist, certify that all comments on the scientific concepts/methodology are sound. If an author chooses to attend, they are encouraged to provide the panel a brief overview of their work at the beginning and answer lingering questions at the end, passively observing the discussion in between.
Why should an author submit their paper for group review?
Beyond their support of Open Science, an author whose work is reviewed in an OPJC benefits from connecting with their research community in more tangible ways. More eyes and the diverse backgrounds of reviewer volunteers reduces bias in a research project and their new perspectives lead to more considered results or conclusions.
For early and late career researchers, this is a great way to observe how your fellow researchers perceive your writing and understand your data, and to discover ideas/emerging trends outside of your current network.
The OPJC format also offers rapid feedback, with the author receiving a structured set of comments and questions immediately after the event.
This is a free service for authors.
Why should reviewer volunteers attend and contribute to a group review?
Reviewer volunteers are the beating heart of the OPJC initiative, and we’re very thankful to them for lending their time and experience. Volunteers will be able to debate their interests in real time and connect with researchers outside of their current network, leading to a better understanding of how their contributions are understood. This will inform and improve an attendee’s writing, saving review for the author’s future submissions. The lively discussion that characterizes an OPJC event is also a great way to discover new ideas or methodologies that may not have been recorded in the literature.
This is an excellent opportunity for early career researchers to connect with peers and refine their best practices when reviewing other manuscripts. Reviewer volunteers can opt for their names to be blinded on the OPJC review document if the revised manuscript is published in a JMIR journal.
How can a reviewer prepare for the OPJC?
There are a couple of ways you can prepare to review in a live journal club: take notes and write preliminary questions before the meeting, attend with a friend and digest the manuscript before and after the event, share your initial thoughts with a colleague prior to the open review, and browse the PREreview template for an understanding of the event’s flow.
You can find PREreview’s code of conduct and list of resources here.
How can an author register interest in a preprint group review?
Interested authors can opt in at submission to JMIRx or JMIR Preprints (see below). They can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org if their preprint is already available on our platform and if there is no revised version published.
Please note this option is available at no cost; however, we are limited by our events schedule. If you opt in to consideration for an OPJC, a member of our marketing team will contact you within 3 business days around openings. We want to ensure you receive a quick review even if the OPJC schedule is already full.
When selecting peer review options at submission, click “Request PREreview video journal club.”
How does it work for an interested author?
Here’s a simplified outline of the OPJC process for our authors:
- Manuscript publication on a preprint server: We currently offer OPJCs via JMIRx (our preprint overlay journal) and JMIR Preprints. Prior publication of the manuscript as a preprint is required for this review workflow; authors interested in this novel peer review model should deposit a manuscript on a preprint server such as JMIR Preprints, medRxiv, and others.
- Submission to JMIRx: Author formally submits their manuscript to JMIRx and chooses the PREreview review pathway in the JMIRx submission form.
- The live event: The structured OPJC live session will be led by a PREreview expert and an invited subject expert over a video platform (Zoom), with each attendee commenting on the merits of the paper. After the event, the PREreview team’s PhD-level moderators will share the compiled comments with the author and JMIR’s Editorial team.
- Revisions and resubmission: Authors should consider the written OPJC feedback when revising their manuscript. If an author addresses the comments from the OPJC, they will be offered formal publication of the revised preprint in JMIRx, or receive one or more offers for publication across the entire JMIR portfolio of journals. In line with JMIR Publications’ standard practice, the OPJC review and reviewer names will be posted alongside the revised/finalized version.