Hindawi publishers is a really interesting outfit. They are an open access only publisher based in Egypt. They combing a fantastic use of technology with the ability to afford a large amount of human curation over the data that they use to streamline their publication and reviewing systems.
One of their publishing vehicles is called the International Scholarly Research Network and at the recent coasp conference Paul Peters gave an overview of how their peer review system works, I think it’s genius. They take a received manuscript, look at all of the references in that manuscript, and then computationally compare overlap of the cited works with the works cited by their panel of potential reviewers. They identify up to five potential referees who have the closest discipline match, but with whom there is no conflict of interest. A review request is sent out, and the reviewers are asked should the work be published according to the ISRN criteria, or if not why not. If a qoura of reviewers accepts then the paper is published. If there is a disagreement, they all get to see each other’s comments and they have to come to an agreement on the final decision.
When a paper is published the reviewers who supported the decision have their names published along side the paper so that the community can see the provenance of the peer review.
When the decision is split I love the fact that they can see each other’s comments before making a final decision. This makes it easier for the community of reviewers to come to a concencus over what standard of reviewing to apply for the submissions to ISRN.
It’s a beautiful system, and it’s one where cantankerous reviewers can be identified quickly, and removed form the review request queue.