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Looking for ways to improve your manuscripts and peer reviews? This "science of science" reading list can help!

When reviewing papers or writing your own papers, it’s important to remember that the fact that something is standard practice for your field doesn’t mean that it’s the best way of doing things. Scientists, journals and funding agencies are increasingly recognising the limitations of many existing practices and are implementing new policies to improve transparency, rigour and reproducibility. The eLife Ambassadors meta-research group has prepared a list of meta-research articles for authors and peer reviewers. These "science of science" papers will help peer reviewers learn to identify and understand the problems with some very common practices.

This collection of articles also offers constructive solutions that make it easier for authors to improve transparency, rigour and reproducibility. Citing relevant meta-research articles in reviews is one step that peer reviewers can take to improve the quality of the scientific literature. While the articles in the list focus on practices that are common in the basic biomedical sciences, these practices are also used in many other fields that typically have small sample sizes. Each topic is clearly labelled, so it’s easy to identify articles that are relevant to your discipline.

If you participate in a pre-print or peer review journal club (such as ASAPBio), you may want to try discussing some of these articles at one of your sessions. Sharing information about best practices with your colleagues may improve the quality of future discussions and reviews.

Meta-research articles and educational articles

Tracey Weissgerber, PhD

Head of research group

ORCID | Disclosure of Interest

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Phone:+49 30 450 543 009