Academic houses Taylor & Francis and Cambridge University Press have joined a pilot project on using blockchain technology for peer review announced by publisher Springer Nature and start-up Katalysis last month.
The pilot is looking at ways to tackle the "rising burden of the peer review process" by developing a protocol where information about peer review activities submitted by publishers is stored on a blockchain. This aims to allow the review process to be independently validated and data fed to relevant vehicles to ensure recognition for reviewers.
T&F and CUP will now share key information around publisher and peer review workflows, and make a number of journals available to the pilot for development purposes. Katalysis will provide the technical expertise for the test platform, ORCID will share insights on personal identifiers and authentication, and technology company Digital Science will continue to manage the initiative.
T&F publishing director Deborah Kahn said: "At a time when trust and transparency are increasingly important, high quality peer review is fundamental to the scholarly communication process. The use of blockchain to help to solve some of the current challenges in peer review is a timely initiative and we are delighted to be able to contribute to its success." Brigitte Shull, director of scholarly communications R&D at CUP, added: "Peer review is one of the most vital services we provide to the academic communities we work with and this includes the exploration of new technologies and processes where it offers an opportunity for better peer review outcomes. We are excited to learn more abou the ways in which blockchain applications will help us to innovate and evolve as an industry."
Meanwhile at Springer Nature, director of special projects Joris van Rossum celebrated the fact that CUP and T&F were joining the initiative, saying: "We now have a fantastic group of publishers representing a full range of academic subjects and a variety of peer review models. This kind of partnership is vital to industry-wide pilots and allows us to effectively investigate the potential of blockchain to improve the peer review process."