Open Science for everyone / Practicing openness as a reader and reviewer
Open Science initiatives aim to surface the complex backstory that lies at the root of research, and makes scientific advancement possible. In our last two issues, we discussed Open Science in general and shared Open Science best practices for authors.

But what if you aren’t an author yet, or you’re not in a position to make independent publication decisions?
“Crucial to science education is hands-on involvement.”
— Martin Rees
Open Science for reviewers, readers, and others

Explore your community

Connect with others in Open Science

There are lots of opportunities to meet, learn from, and network with Open Science groups, including general groups, like the Open Science MOOC, as well as groups specific to your discipline, for example Improving Psych. The list of resources at the Simmons Open Access Directory can be a great jumping-off point.

Be Open about your identity

Sign peer reviews

Many journals, including PLOS offer peer reviewers the opportunity to sign comments if they feel comfortable doing so. Signed and published peer review fosters a constructive, collegial review process. Signing your name to your review shows confidence, demonstrates that you have no potential competing interests, and gives you an opportunity to claim credit for the work you do.

Share your insight and expertise

Comment on preprints

Choosing to sign peer reviews is one way to practice Open Science--but did you know that you can participate in Open, collaborative peer review without an invitation? Many journals, including the PLOS publications, take preprint comments into consideration during the assessment process. Next time a preprint catches your attention on bioRxiv, arXiv, or another server, consider posting your thoughts. The authors and editors will appreciate your help!

Ask your questions

Comment on published articles

The research conversation doesn’t end with publication. If you read an article that leaves you with questions, chances are that other readers have experienced the same thing. Post your thoughts and queries as a comment on the published article, so the authors have a chance to respond, and everyone can benefit from a better understanding of the study.

Spread the word

Encourage Open Science practice in your community

You may not be calling the shots (yet!) but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an impact on how things are done. Help spread the word about Open Science in your lab and at your institution. Share Open Science articles and tools on social media. Talk to your PI about preregistration, Open Access publishing, and Open Data. Get in touch with your research librarian to learn about Open Science activities and resources available at your institution, or seek out materials online from groups like the Center for Open Science (COS).


What elements of Open Science do you find most exciting? Anything that confuses you or gives you pause? Let us know!

Back to our regularly scheduled programming
This concludes the PLOS Peer Review Toolbox Summer Series. We’re returning to our regular biweekly schedule for the Autumn, starting with a Special Issue in celebration of Peer Review Week, followed by a brand new series responding to your questions about peer review.
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