Open Abstracts

Have you heard of open abstracts? Here you can find out how they work and what they aim to achieve.


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The journal Internet Policy Review is currently piloting an Open Abstracts feature. Authors are invited to submit an abstract along with a small statement as to its purpose and will receive two short peer reviews from scholars established in the journal’s community within ten days. Insignias attached to their profiles and usernames draw on the existing journal database to describe their relationship to the journal: whether they have written articles for it, acted as peer reviewers, or are part of the editorial board. Other parties are also welcome to provide their reviews throughout the process. The author of the abstract can then make use of this feedback process in the project’s formative stages. Open Abstracts thus function as low-threshold peer review.

The aims of Open Abstracts include:

  • to expand the journal as a space in which scholars can find each other and develop connections. Since journals already function as important nodes in academic communities, it makes sense to use their established infrastructures and audiences to further benefit scholars.
  • to encourage transdisciplinarity and generational exchange.
  • to help emerging researchers by providing them with resources and guidance at an early stage.
  • to encourage scholars to rapidly "prototype” ideas by lowering the effort investment necessary for peer review.


Internet Policy Review used a pilot grant from the European Commission (OpenAIRE) to develop Open Abstracts as a new journal feature as part of the journal’s website. It allows anyone to submit (topical) abstracts for a proposed or conjectured academic item such as an article, paper, conference talk, or any other project. The journal recently launched a “public beta” of this feature to test the functionality and gather feedback before shifting into full operation around September 2017. The journal platform Drupal allowed the core functionality to come together by combining common modules.

Other journals should be able to build on this work and offer similar features as Internet Policy Review plans to facilitate this by sharing relevant resources and information.

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