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Table 1 Interventions included in the vignette-based survey

From: Designs of trials assessing interventions to improve the peer review process: a vignette-based survey

Intervention Description
Training Peer reviewers are asked to attend an online training program, with lessons on how to evaluate the methodology, the reporting of data and results, the ethical issues, and how to address them in a review. The course will also inform peer reviewers on what journals want from them from an editor’s perspective. Peer reviewers are then supervised for three articles specifically selected for the course.
Adding an expert to the peer review process An expert is asked to peer review the manuscript in addition to the usual peer review process. The expert should be a statistician or a methodologist.
Use of reporting guidelines checklist Peer reviewers are asked to complete a checklist based on guidelines (such as CONSORT or STARD, depending on the nature of their manuscript), in addition to their usual review. The checklist is then sent to the authors so they can revise their manuscript.
Results-free peer review Peer reviewers are blinded to the results of the study. The peer review process unfolds in 2 steps:
1. Peer reviewers receive the manuscript without the abstract, results or discussion. They write a first review and make a recommendation for publication. This first review is sent to the editor.
2. Peer reviewers then receive the full manuscript to comment on the results, discussion and abstract by answering two simple questions on the completeness of the reporting and on the validity of the interpretation. The review is sent to the editor and combined with the first one.
Use of incentives Reviewers are told they will receive an incentive (payment or discounted subscription to the journal) when they are asked to peer review the manuscript.
Post-publication peer review Manuscripts are posted online on an open access platform where researchers from all around the world with any background can peer review the study. Chosen researchers are also actively invited by the author and the editor to peer review the online publication. The peer review is entirely transparent: the reviewers’ names and affiliation, their report and the approval status they choose are published along with the article. Peer review reports are posted as soon as they are received and the peer review status of the article is updated with every published report. Once an article has passed peer review (i.e., it has received at least two “Approved” statuses from independent peer reviewers), it will be indexed in PubMed, PubMed Central, Scopus, and Embase.