International open access publisher Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation has announced a new partnership with Rubriq, complementing its own peer review process for journals on QScience.com with Rubriq’s ground-breaking scorecard, a standardised, independent peer review tool, developed to speed publication and increase trust in the peer review process.
While Rubriq will provide an independent peer review of submitted research, the editors-in-chief of each journal will retain control over which papers are ultimately accepted or rejected and base these decisions on both the evaluation of Rubriq reviewers and the particular scope of the journal in question. There are more than 15 journals available through QScience.com, from specialised-topic journals to the multidisciplinary journal QScience Connect.
Although Rubriq will supplement the existing review process for more traditionally-structured journals, it will completely replace the peer review management process for QScience Connect, where editors will make decisions based solely on feedback provided in the Rubriq scorecard.
“This is a bold new step in the future of open access,” said Arend Kuester, Managing Director at QScience. “QScience prides itself in offering a fast, transparent and innovative open access publishing process that is centred on the author bringing his or her research to a global audience. This partnership will vastly improve that process, removing any potential conflict of interest in the reviewing process. And as the volume of submissions increase, the new process will also establish a consistent, high-quality standard of professional peer review and ensure that authors continue to receive responses within a reasonable time frame.”
“This partnership represents a significant step forward to the way in which scholarly publishers, authors and researchers come to think about peer review,” said Rubriq Co-Founder and Managing Director Keith Collier. “It is a paradigm shift that separates the peer review process from the actual publishing; eliminating major inefficiencies while validating Rubriq’s core belief that there should be a faster way to publish trusted research.”
Rubriq is designed to help individual authors make critical changes to their manuscript before submission and select the best journal for their work. This relationship demonstrates how journals can also use Rubriq to improve the publishing process. Outsourcing can enable journals to better manage the costs, quality and transparency of the peer review process.
The foundation of the Rubriq system is a web-based network that can handle large volumes of manuscript submissions. Using its proprietary software, Rubriq matches and assigns submissions to the appropriate peer reviewers, who utilise the patent-pending scorecard Rubriq uses to provide standardised, structured reviews. Rubriq also provides journal recommendations, using the reviews and software to match submitted papers to appropriate journals by keywords, as well as the impact and quality of the papers as assessed by the reviewers.
According to Arend Kuester, QScience represents an ideal partner for Rubriq’s standardised, independent peer review scorecard as it has a reputation as an innovator that is always looking for ways to improve the publishing process. QScience was launched by a team with traditional publishing backgrounds in 2010. They sought the opportunity to create global journals with the freedom to leapfrog established publishing processes and technologies.
QScience’s focus on open access is also a good fit for Rubriq. Open access has been criticised by some for its potential for conflicts of interest or lower-quality (and sometimes non-existent) peer review. By using a tested, standardised, and independent peer review service like Rubriq, any journal can be assured of receiving unbiased, high-quality evaluations of research.
“Our relationship with QScience allows us to demonstrate the potential for Rubriq and the rigour of our peer review process in ‘gold’ open access through a real-life scenario, rather than just theory,” concludes Rubriq’s Collier. “It is a platform from which we can attract the interest of other individual journals, as well as thought leaders in scholarly publishing.”
QScience.com, a Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development initiative, already hosts 14 scholarly journals that cover diverse subjects including information and library studies, sustainable energy, education, medicine and bioscience, Middle Eastern healthcare, design, and Islamic studies. Additional journals are scheduled for launch later this year.
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