Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people of similar competence to the producers of the work. It constitutes a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards of quality, improve performance, and provide credibility. In academia peer review is often used to determine an academic paper’s suitability for publication.
In a 2014 survey of over 30,000 NPG researchers, authors told us that they want us to innovate when it comes to peer review:
-70% authors are frustrated with the time peer-review takes
-77% think traditional peer review could be made more efficient
-67% think publishers should experiment with alternative peer-review methods
NPG is first and foremost here to serve scientists. Our method is to run experiments, measure the results, learn and adapt. Over many years at NPG Testing and evolving is the peer review process. Our innovations have included offering blind peer review,and an open peer review trial   for monographs last year. We have been exploring, learning, and better understanding the needs and choices of our authors.
This journal uses double-blind review, which means that both the reviewer and author identities are concealed from the reviewers, and vice-versa, throughout the review process. To facilitate this, authors need to ensure that their manuscripts are prepared in a way that does not give away their identity.  To help with this preparation please ensure the following when submitting to Social Science & Medicine.
gle-blind reviews have become the norm for two main reasons; the first is because of the perception that reviewers would be hesitant to be completely honest in their reviews if they know ahead of time that their names will be attached to their work. The second is because of hesitancy on the part of respected journals to offer a service that they do not believe they can fully ensure—sometimes, it is not that difficult to figure out who an author is because of the small numbers of people working in a particular field, because they cite themselves or because their work is already so well known. As part of its announcement, Nature has said that ensuring the anonymity of researchers going forward will fall to the writers of the papers.
Experimentation is key if we are to improve scholarly communications and support the researcher community, be they authors, reviewers, editorial board members or readers.  We hope this trial will provide useful feedback, in whatever form it takes, and will share what we’ve learnt in the coming weeks.