History and Background
In 2019, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rapid Reviews: COVID-19 was conceived by principals at the MIT Press and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, and was launched and operationalized with generous support from the McGovern Foundation. It was soon to be the first open-access overlay journal to accelerate the formal peer review of COVID-19-related research preprints. Its two primary goals were (i) to prevent the dissemination of false or misleading scientific information and (ii) to accelerate the validation and diffusion of robust, impactful scientific findings. An underlying value of this work was and continues to be transparency and reliability. By offering peer review on top of preprints we are ensuring a level of rigor that clinicians, researchers, journalists, policy makers, and others worldwide rely on to make sound judgments about the current crisis and its amelioration.
A significant achievement of the RR:C19 model, which continues with the evolution of RR\ID (launched in late 2022), has been to reimagine peer review editorial processes for a post-pandemic era, and democratizing public access to reliable research studies from the global scientific community. RR:C19 is currently the second largest overlay journal in existence and the only winner of the 2022 Association of American Publishers’ PROSE Award for Innovation in Journal Publishing. Efforts led by RR:C19 have been highlighted in mainstream media outlets, such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Hill. The Rapid Review model involves three entities operating in concert: an editorial office (based at UC Berkeley) and powered by an army of both undergraduate and graduate students,, project and technology management (provided by the MIT Press along with its partner the Knowledge Futures Group), and research partner Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, creators and maintainers of the AI-powered search tool, COVIDScholar.
Introducing Rapid Reviews\Infectious Diseases
RR\ID builds off RR:C19’s successful proof-of-concept for a new peer review model that facilitates rapid publishing for broader application. RR\ID expands beyond COVID-19 to advance the science community’s understanding of infectious diseases and emerging outbreaks. While RR\ID, like RR:C19, leans on a similar editorial process and model to rapidly prevent the dissemination of false or misleading scientific information and to accelerate the validation and diffusion of robust impactful scientific findings, RR\ID is unique in that it is poised to be a valuable tool for specific communities of practice and partners who are responding to infectious disease challenges. RR\ID will adapt our open “curate, review, publish” model for the advancement of scientific research throughout the world–whether that be on future COVID-19 priorities, emerging pandemics and infectious disease, or other pressing global threats. Key tenets of RR\ID are to:
Through a robust peer review network, provide transdisciplinary peer review that is responsive to the needs of emerging pandemics and new waves of infectious diseases
Through an inclusive editorial model, empower the global research community to bring forth new research on infectious diseases; highlight “diamonds in the rough” that are reliable and illustrative of the global burdens of disease in other countries
Through high level partnerships with organizations and networks focused on ID, collaborate closely on approaches and processes that can help better inform the advancement of science communications, traditional peer review, and knowledge dissemination
Through its academic trainee model, move the needle on developing the next cadre of researchers and scholars on the importance of peer review, open science, and innovative models that will advance science communications in a way that is accessible and equitable
Through our openness to collaboration and technology, leverage data science and AI to modernize traditional peer review methods and to accelerate the scientific publishing process