The peer-review label aids transparency and consistency

19.5.2018

The peer-review label in a publication shows that the text has been peer reviewed in line with generally accepted quality and ethical requirements.

The peer-review label is a sign that enables the reader to easily distinguish which of the articles in a journal or an edited book have been peer reviewed. The label can also be found on the monographs of many Finnish scholarly publishers.

The peer-review label is a registered trademark of the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies (TSV). Publishers that regularly publish scholarly publications in Finland can apply to TSV for the right to use it. The label is already used by more than 150 series and nine book publishers. Currently, the majority of the publishers using the label are learned societies.

When applying for the label, the publisher undertakes to comply with the label’s terms of use and to promote in its own publishing activities the principles of the peer review instructions issued by the Finnish Association for Scholarly Publishing and the guidelines on Responsible conduct of research and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in Finland from the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity TENK.

What does the label indicate?

The label is printed on the title pages of peer-reviewed publications or elsewhere in conjunction with publication information. If the same publication contains both peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed articles, the label is also printed in the table of contents and in conjunction with the individual articles. This enables the reader to clearly see which texts have been peer reviewed and which have not. Review can be carried out either anonymously, or openly, so that the names of the authors and/or referees are known.

The label printed in a publication shows that the text has been peer reviewed prior to publication in line with generally accepted quality and ethical requirements.

The label printed in a publication shows that the text has been peer reviewed prior to publication in line with generally accepted quality and ethical requirements. The article or book bearing the label will have been reviewed by at least two independent experts who are not part of the editorial board of the publication channel. The authors will have received the comments of the referees and made the necessary corrections to their manuscripts. The publisher will have archived the key documents so that in the event of any conflicts, they can be referred to at a later date.

However, the label itself does not say anything about the scientific or social importance or impact of the text, which can only be assessed in discussion arising after publication. Nor is the label connected to the Publication Forum classification, although both services operate under the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies. Publication Forum’s basic level, i.e. level 1, requires peer review but not the use of the peer-review label. Granting the peer-review label does not automatically affect the Publication Forum level which will be decided by the evaluation panels.

What benefit is gained by using the label?

Both producers and users of research literature, professional communities and the general public benefit from the label. The guidelines on scientific quality assessment of publications and setting common national standards help publishers, reviewers and authors to develop their own operations and improve the quality of publications. Harmonised principles also make the responsibilities concerning research integrity clearer for all parties involved.

The transparency of the review process increases authors', readers' and the scientific community's confidence in these publication channels as legitimate sources of scientific knowledge. The label printed in a publication removes ambiguity associated with specifying peer-reviewed publications, e.g. in research evaluation, and helps the users of scholarly literature to identify revised pieces of research.

Anna-Sofia Ruth, Information Specialist at Tampere University Library. Coordinator for Publication Forum at the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies 2014–2017.


Further information:

The peer-review label and the publication channels that use it: https://tsv.fi/en/services/label-for-peer-reviewed-scholarly-publications