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* Brain & Cognitive Sciences

Guide to sources for Brain & Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester River Campus Libraries

Peer Review: An Evolving Process

Traditional Peer Review: Peer-reviewed or refereed articles have been reviewed by other experts within the a field prior to publication. Articles often undergo several rounds of review and revision before they are published.

Innovations in Peer Review

Three Models of Post-Publication Review

  • Invited reviewers: An editor invites experts to comment on the published article. Once that work passes review, it is identified as a ”peer reviewed” publication and indexed within scholarly databases as such (e.g., F1000 ResearchCopernicus).
  • Volunteer reviewers: A group of scholars are vetted by a journal and anyone from that group can review any published work. Each publication will determine if and how a review impacts the status of a work, and when it has been reviewed and edited enough to become “peer reviewed” (e.g., Science Open, The Winnower).
  • Open comments: Comments and review happen on the article’s page, blogs, or other third-party sites. These comments can be made anonymously, pseudonymously, or with real names. This type of review won’t typically change the status of a published article from “manuscript” to “peer reviewed,” but may serve to identify issues with a paper or to surface interesting and highly read—and potentially highly impactful—articles (e.g., PubPeer, PubMed Commons).

Open Peer Review: In an open peer review model (e.g., Wellcome Open Research), all aspects of the publication and review processes are made publicly accessible, including:

  • The original manuscript
  • The names and full reports of all referees
  • Any revised versions of the manuscript
  • A list of all the amendments made by the author

Get Credit for Peer Review

Create a Publons account to track and verify your peer-review activities. Connect your Publons account to your ORCID profile to make your review activities available to other scholars, universities, funders, publishers, and scholarly societies.

Understanding Intellectual Copyright & Open Access

What is Copyright and Why Should you Care?

Copyright is a bundle of legal rights regarding an original work, basically it is the right to CONTROL how the work is used. Many journals will offer a range of agreement types, however even if you publish an article open access (OA), there can be restrictions on what you can do with your own work, such as sharing articles on social media or a personal website.

Different Levels of Open Access (OA)

OA logoGreen OA - Articles that are considered green OA have been self-archived into a website controlled by the author, into an institutional repository, or into a subject repository.

Gold OA - Journals may offer the gold OA option, where the author will need to pay an article processing charge (APC) in order for their work to be made available OA. 

Platinum OA - A true Open Access journal; there is no cost to the author, these publishers are often sponsored by universities, government information centers, or even groups of researchers

Bronze OA - Similar to gold OA, however the article will have an embargo (enforced delayed-access) placed on it, typically 6-12 months or longer

Preprints - Should you Deposit?

What Are Preprints?


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Pros Cons
  • Faster and wider dissemination: no wait times, no paywalls
  • Record of priority: permanent datestamp within 24hrs of posting
  • Does not preclude publication: usually not considered prior publication. Check SHERPA/RoMEO for specific journal preprint policies
  • Establish a body of work: Good for early career researchers; funders like NIH and Wellcome accept preprints as part of application
  • Rapid evaluation of results: lots of eyes on a given paper
  • Perception of low quality: misunderstanding of preprints as manuscripts that can't pass peer review
  • Risk of disseminating invalid findings: unvetted papers may be picked up by the public, journalists, etc.
  • Risk of embargo violations: If press or public publish findings from preprint may be considered prior publication

Preprints and Research Impact Studies


Impact Measurements & Tools

Metrics - Journal Level

  • Impact Factor (IF) -  The yearly average number of citations to recent articles published in that journal, calculated yearly starting from 1975 for journals listed in the Journal Citation Reports (JCR). It is commonly thought that the higher the impact factor the more important the journal is to be published in.
  • SJR - Another journal-level impact metrics that includes journal & country rank; includes more disciplines than JCR (JCR is heavily weighted towards STEM).

Metrics - Author Level

  • H-Index - A scholar with an index of h has published papers each of which has been cited in other papers at least h times
  • Altmetric - Tracks where published research is mentioned online in a number of venues including Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Mendeley, blog posts, etc.
  • Impact Story - Similar to altmetrics, however includes datasets and software

Increase Your Impact by Using the Right Tools

Scholarly Profile Tools

  • Google Scholar Profile - Make sure people can find all the research you've published!
  • ORCiD - No matter which institution you are at, you can take or ORCiD with you; this is a valuable disambiguation tool if you have a common name or ever change your name. Journals and universities are increasingly requiring you have an ORCiD.

Share Your Research on Academic Social Networks - While these may be useful to you, using Twitter to share research and make connections with other researchers can also help, especially if you are interested in interdisciplinary research. If you are at a lab, ensure it has a social media presence. See copyright section in this guide for guidance on legally sharing your research.

Beyond the Article - Research papers are no longer considered the only first-class research output. Increasingly scholars are sharing outputs like: