go backGo Back

The Future of Peer Review: Considerations of AI tools in Peer Review

The Future of Peer Review: Considerations of AI tools in Peer Review

Peer review has been a golden standard for evaluating the quality and validity of scientific research since the 17th century. However, as technology advances, the academic and scholarly publishing processes also transform significantly.

There are numerous routine tasks which publishers must handle when they receive a manuscript. However, recent advancements in AI offer the possibility of implementing semi-automated peer review systems. This would not only save countless hours but also potentially enhance academic productivity. Although the use of AI tools holds numerous promising advantages, implementing them is not without its share of challenges.

Benefits of AI Integration in Publishing Workflows

AI tools are able to process large volumes of manuscripts in lesser time than humans. This ability promises to bring about more streamlined and faster publishing workflows, ultimately benefiting both publishers and researchers. Manuscript screening, categorisation, and sharing with the right experts can be achieved swiftly and accurately, leading to shorter turnaround times. This efficiency is a critical advantage in a rapidly evolving academic landscape, where timely dissemination of research findings is of great importance.

As AI takes on the routine tasks, reviewers can focus more on the critical aspects of their role, such as evaluating research quality, adhering to ethical standards, scrutinising robustness of methodology, and ensuring the significance of findings. This shift in responsibility can lead to more thoughtful and thorough peer reviews, enhancing the quality and rigor of the entire process.

Peer review is also being scrutinised for its potential to reinforce existing biases within the academic community, such as those related to gender, language, or institutional affiliation. These biases may become more apparent, especially when reviewers are pressed for time and fail to reflect adequately on their judgments. The application of AI tools to the peer review process may not only save reviewers’ time but also help uncover and address these biases, ultimately contributing to fairer and more equitable evaluations.

Use of AI Tools in the Current Peer Review System

These AI applications streamline the publishing process, improve the quality of published work, and contribute to greater transparency and reproducibility in academic research.

1. Efficient Manuscript Screening: AI can swiftly sift through the flood of incoming manuscripts, categorising them based on subject matter, keywords, and content relevance. This aids in efficient manuscript handling and routing to appropriate editors and reviewers, reducing the time spent on manual sorting and distribution.

2. Reviewer Matching: AI algorithms excel at identifying potential peer reviewers by analysing manuscript content and comparing it with the expertise, research interests, and previous work of potential reviewers. This smart matching process minimises the effort required to find suitable reviewers.

3. Language and Formatting Checks: AI tools can automatically check manuscripts for language proficiency, grammar, structure, and formatting issues. This automated quality control ensures that submitted papers meet publication standards, reducing the burden on human editors and reviewers.

4. Plagiarism Detection: AI systems can scan manuscripts for instances of plagiarism, helping maintain the integrity of the publishing process by identifying potential ethical violations.

5. Methods Assessment and Statistical Check: AI systems can generate automated assessments of the methods used in research articles, aiding reviewers in evaluating the quality and rigor of research. AI tools can also check manuscripts against standardised reporting guidelines and detect statistical errors, ensuring the accuracy of statistical analyses presented in research papers.

6. Transparency and Reproducibility Analysis: AI tools can analyse manuscripts for evidence of transparency and reproducibility, such as data access statements and software version documentation, thus promoting research integrity.

7. Reference Verification: AI tools automatically check and highlight discrepancies between in-text citations and the reference list, ensuring accurate and consistent citation practices in research articles.

Potential Risks Associated With the Use of AI Tools in Peer Review

While the integration of AI tools in publishing workflows and peer review brings about numerous advantages, it also raises several legitimate concerns that merit careful consideration:

1. Bias and Fairness: AI systems can inherit biases present in the data they are trained on, potentially perpetuating existing disparities in the academic publishing process.

2. Lack of Human Judgment: AI lacks the nuanced judgment, experience, and contextual understanding of humans. This could lead to errors or misjudgments in the assessment of research quality.

3. Ethical and Privacy Concerns: The use of AI in peer review may raise ethical questions, particularly in terms of data privacy, consent, and the potential for misuse of personal information.

4. Data Security: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has instituted a policy that prohibits “scientific peer reviewers from using natural language processors, large language models, or other generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies for analysing and formulating peer review critiques for grant applications and R&D contract proposals.” The rationale behind this restriction lies in concerns over confidentiality, as these AI tools “have no guarantee of where data are being sent, saved, viewed or used in the future.”

5. Transparency and Accountability: The inner workings of AI algorithms can be opaque, making it challenging to explain and justify their decisions, which may lead to questions about accountability and fairness.

6. Overreliance on Technology: There is a risk of overreliance on AI tools, potentially leading to a reduction in the critical thinking and expertise of human reviewers and editors.


One of the most intriguing prospects lies in how AI can reshape the peer review process. While the core evaluation of a paper’s novelty, significance, and methodological rigor remains inherently human, AI can significantly reduce the administrative burden on reviewers and editors. By handling the routine tasks, AI not only reduces the time and effort reviewers must dedicate to administrative chores but also ensures a more standardised and error-free process.

The integration of AI is not about replacing human expertise but enhancing it, fostering an efficient and effective ecosystem for disseminating knowledge. While it shows potential for enhancing efficiency, careful utilisation is necessary to uphold the integrity of the peer review system. Achieving the proper balance between technological advancement and ethical principles is the key to successful AI integration.


Share with your colleagues

cwg logo

Scientific Editing Services