Transparency is regarded as one of the virtues of the “Open peer review” as the reviewers’ names are included on the peer review reports. This is opposite to the traditional peer review, which is at least single-blinded. Numerous studies considered how open peer review affects the objectivity of the evaluation of the scientific work. But in our paper the concept of openness is seen from the other perspective, as the openness and transparency of the process of searching reviewers. The reviewers search process is transparent when the whole process of searching and selection is evident and can be repeated with identical results. The repeatability of the process is possible when there are clear criteria and tools for the selection of potential reviewers. Such a methodology provides reviewers who are competent to assess certain scientific research topics, achieves the effective elimination of conflict of interest and can be automated as much as possible. Our study addresses the problem that a research funding agency usually face when matching potential reviewers with submitted research proposals.
Most of the important decisions regarding science and scientists are based on the peer review; therefore it is a subject to constant criticism. By expanding the scope of research activities, requirements to rationalize and modernize these processes also impose. Studies assessing the adequacy of reviewers highlight the importance of intellectual knowledge of reviewers, the exclusion of the conflicts of interest, proportional representation (regional, the rate of expertise, etc.) and clear peer evaluation criteria. In considering the peer review systems in science, which is the basis for their improvement and development , positions of the three main entities involved are important: those who are evaluated (researchers), those that evaluate (reviewers) and those who conduct the procedures (administrators).
In this paper we present the results of the pilot study of searching the grant applications reviewers by using the Reviewer Finder (RF) methodology (http://info.scival.com/reviewer-finder). It uses SCOPUS as a comprehensive database of scholarly publishing and its impact. In the study we assessed the responsiveness and the degree of consensus among potential reviewers, their attitude to the scientific peer review and tested the adequacy of RF methodology used by non-professionals.