A group of researchers, both reviewers and editors of international journals (amongst others, participants in COST action TD1306 “New frontiers in peer review”), in collaboration with the Center for the Promotion of Science (CPN), created a peer review seminar aimed at PhD students and younger researchers. At some universities in Serbia, students are trained in writing scientific papers, while there is hardly any peer review training. A survey conducted among the editors of 22 print magazines in Serbia (50 out of 70 editors replied) showed that the review process was ineffective, mainly due to poor response of invited reviewers, a long waiting times for review, and partly due to lack of competence and expertise of reviewers. Some editors feel that training of reviewers (especially younger generations) is the way to go in order to improve efficiency.
A 3-hour seminar, featuring five lecturers, covering the topics ranging from how to do reviews properly, through ethics in peer review to the epistemological aspects of writing and reviewing scientific papers and the functioning of specific peer review networks and platforms such as Publons. Prominent lecturers with extensive editing and reviewing experience for renowned scientific journals also address a number of interesting questions related to the peer review process: why review?; what are the goals of the review?; does the reviewer assist the journal editor or the author?; is the reviewer also an author of the reviewed work?; can the reviewer be objective?; can the review be cited?; and many other issues.
In 2017 and 2018 the Seminar was held on 5 occasions: at the Center for the Promotion of Science and at the Rectorates of the Universities of Niš, Novi Sad and Kragujevac. The seminar was attended by 275 participants, 84% of whom were young researchers (doctoral students, researchers) and 16% senior professors and scientists. 31% of them belonged to the field of social sciences, 30% came from technical and technological sciences, 24% from natural sciences and 15% from the field of medical sciences. The organizers of the seminar think that the reviewer training should continue, that members of the academic community are quite interested in the topic, and the result of the test review showed that there is a realistic need for such training. Training young people will increase the competence of individuals, the number of reviewers available, and thus the efficiency of the peer review process in journals.