عنوان مقاله [English]
It has always been widely believed that the authors of scientific works have the most important role in the production, dissemination, and development of science; Because writers, as the most important factors in the production of science, are considered to be the basis for the formation of thinking and injecting intellectual currents into society. In addition to this notion, scientific journals and publishers are also of special importance as the means of distributing and disseminating science, and in the production cycle of science, they are always referred to as the most fundamental infrastructural factors for the transmission and dissemination of knowledge. On the other hand, the scientific community always looks at the role of editors and members of the editorial board and the scientific-executive factors of publications and publishers as other important factors in the production and dissemination of knowledge. That is the reason why editors-in-chief and editors of scientific journals, who act as the final decision-makers for the publication of articles and scholarly works, are often cited as key officials in improving the quality of publications and works.
Of course, the irrefutable importance of any of the above factors, such as writers, publishers, publications, editors, members of the editorial board, and other scientific and executive factors of publishing in improving the quality of articles and other scientific publications is not hidden from anyone. Nevertheless, the point that is sometimes overlooked and not properly addressed is the direct role that reviewers play in promoting the quality of publications and the distribution of scientific works. Indeed, it can be imagined that if the peer-review process would be removed from the publishing cycle, or even underestimated, we would have to wait for the quality of the publishing cycle to stop moving, the scientific community to be challenged, gradually, the way would be paved for the publication of unreliable and invalid works. It may not be unreasonable to say that the improvement of the quality of publications and scientific works,
of publishers is more due to the efforts and accuracy of the reviewers than to the efforts of the authors and other factors in the production of science. In fact, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of articles and works correctly by referees is important, not only for the editors-in-chief and editors of scientific publishers but also for the authors; because reviewers are considered to be an effective lever to improve the quality of the works that authors enter into the scientific publishing cycle. Conversely, poor quality of peer-review can also be significant for writers and pose a serious challenge to the publication of their work; because perhaps no writer would want his or her valuable article to be unfairly excluded from publication due to refereeing errors and misrecognition of its strengths and weaknesses. As another example, the lack of accurate recognition can lead to the publication of an unreliable article or scientific work that is far from scientific justice and unforgivable sin.
Nevertheless, less attention has been paid to the delicate role of reviewing in the scientific dissemination cycle. The fact is that the reviewers are chosen not from within the body of the publication, but from within the scientific community and as representatives of this community and they validate the quality of the work. In this way, each member of the scientific community who plays a role as a reviewer in the publishing cycle is recognized by the scientific community as a guarantor of the quality of the work.
Although the importance of the reviewers has never been hidden for scientific publications and editors, the important question remains unanswered: how should this important position be strengthened in plans, policies, and scientific laws that support research development so that scientific journals and publishers can more effectively enjoy the participation and cooperation of the scientific community in the reviewing process? How can this idea be promoted more effectively so that every specialist in the scientific community can play a role in improving the quality of the scientific work of their peers? Although no clear answers have been given to such questions, it is clear that the idea needs to be reinforced to the point where the scientific community believes that promoting a scientific journal to Q1, or vice versa, degrades a journal, publishing weak articles or publishing an inefficient book goes back a long way to the peer-review process that evaluated these works before and after publication; Because accurate pre-publication reviewing can guarantee the quality, and post-publication reviewing as a powerful control lever, which usually appears in the form of fair criticism, can drive journals and publishers to better control the quality of the work they publish.
Besides, some many other issues and questions need to be answered accurately, calculatedly, and research-based to properly be paved the way for improving the quality of scientific works and the development of publications. Issues such as what factors strengthen the participation of the scientific community in the reviewing of scientific works? What kind of policies, plans, and incentives should be considered to strengthen this cooperation and empathy? Is the participation of different groups of researchers in peer-review the same? And if not, which group of researchers and for what reasons has been more involved in peer-review than others? And the other point is whether more participation in peer-review necessarily means that they are also more careful in reviewing, or whether participation in reviewing is one thing and reviewing accurately and responsibly the other? Indeed, how can the non-participation of the professionals of a field be interpreted in peer-review? In other words, if the research results show that the share of the professionals of a field and even the editors-in-cheif and other editors of journals who are considered important stakeholders in any field are insignificant in the field of scientific reviewing and even they do not prioritize the work of reviewingother journals and scientific publishers in the field. How should this challenge be interpreted? And in this case, how can we expect development paths to be paved for the future of that field and that field to be able to pass the path of excellence well? In addition, another important question is why international journals, which usually do not pay their reviewers a fee, compared to domestic journals, which have a small amount of money to review, are less likely to get the reviewers involved in the participation? Have the presence of databases such as Publons, which has been activated as an international reviewing database in recent years and provided more credibility to the reviewers, played a decisive role in this regard? And if the decisive role of such databases is confirmed, is the creation of such databases at the national level important for analyzing the level of quantitative and qualitative participation of reviewers and domestic journals, and can it create the same amount of scientific credibility and prestige for reviewers?
However, these questions and other issues are all ambiguities that cannot be answered in this category and should be considered and answered at an appropriate time and based on calculated approaches and in forms such as research projects, theses, or dissertations. But what can be suggested here, at least as a hypothesis, is that "motivational factors" seem to be more effective than other factors in attracting the participation of reviewers to scientific peer-review. In fact, motivational factors are the factors that cause a researcher to even delay writing his paper for a period of time, so that he or she can prioritize the reviewing work assigned to him or her. Motivational factors are the factors that cause the members of the scientific community to look at the journals of their scientific field as their knowledge assets, to see the high quality of journals in their favor and the poor quality of journals to their detriment and so in this way, they feel responsible for the quality of the articles and the works that are published. Of course, it should never be overlooked that qualified publishing always takes place in a cycle, and none of the factors, from editors, writers, journals, and scientific publishing managers to peer-reviewers and other factors and stakeholders in the knowledge production and distribution cycle, cannot play a role in this alone. Certainly, injecting such a belief into the scientific community will make all stakeholders in the scientific publishing cycle, especially scientific reviewers, feel responsible for improving the quality of publications and developing specialized knowledge, and this is one of the most important areas for the growth and development of a specialized field.