Seeking developers for PREreview

Are you interested in working with a small and enthusiastic team who are passionate about adding transparency and diversity to the scholarly peer review process through innovation, community building, and mentorship? PREreview is seeking a developer with front and back-end experience to work with the team in developing the next version of the PREreview platform.

This is a 6-month contract, and full-time or part-time arrangements can be negotiated with the team. This is a remote position and available for residents of the USA and international citizens alike.

Experience and attributes

You care about open source software and see the value in contributing to the community so that you can help make a difference. You appreciate the value of contributing to a small open project and how it can be integrated in a new, more open framework of disseminating scientific knowledge. You know getting the best out of a system comes from strong collaboration with the people using it; both on the user side and with the other people in your team. You have initiative and are willing to propose ideas on new technical solutions, but are willing to listen to the user’s needs and expectations.

Based on our current technology, experience in the following is preferred:

  • Modern JavaScript (Node and Browser)
  • Modern HTML and CSS (including HTML-in-JS and CSS-in-JS)
  • JS Bundling (Browserify, Webpack, Rollup)
  • Devops (cloud infrastructure and database management)
  • Modular JS frontend components (e.g., React, Choo, Vue)
  • Middleware-driven server frameworks (e.g., Express, Koa, Feathers)
  • Browserify transforms and related AST-driven automation
  • Privacy and security

Additional Considerations

  • We work within an established ecosystem of scholarly publishing and review.  Knowledge of the workflows and APIs in this space will be beneficial.
  • PREreview’s mission is to diversify peer review, and part of that mission is supporting underrepresented communities.  Candidates should have relevant experience.
  • We are a fully remote team, so candidates must be self-driven and able to work effectively in an asynchronous communication environment.
  • PREreview is an open-source project, and the ideal candidate will be interested in supporting and enabling volunteer contributions.

Overview of the work

With initial funding for PREreview, the team explored different methods and technologies for building out the platform, which has resulted in two betas: PREreview ( and Outbreak Science Rapid PREreview (, which was built in partnership with Outbreak Science.

PREreview (platform 1)

This past January we launched the first prototype of the PREreview platform (, an open-source platform to allow people to discover, read, and write reviews of preprints. Preprints are academic manuscripts freely posted online before undertaking journal-organized peer review. This platform is expected to serve thousands of users in the next few years.

The platform provides a way for a user to request or write reviews of preprints hosted on various external servers run by other organizations. PREreview does not host or mirror the preprints themselves, but collates metadata about them in a database and provides interfaces to discover these documents, explore existing reviews of any specific document, contribute a new review, or discuss existing ones.

The platform also provides some social features: users' profiles (linked to ORCID iDs) that display their activity and contributions, optional use of unique pseudonyms, and ways to discover the reviews of others.

Technical overview (Github Repository)

This project currently implements the backend and frontend for the prereview website, allowing users to request and write reviews on preprints. The platform is written with a full JS stack. The server-side code is NodeJS. The client-side code is modern (ES5+) JS. HTML and CSS are written in JS template strings. The frontend is a Choo application; the backend is an Express server. The database used is Postgres via knex.

Outbreak Science Rapid PREreview (platform 2)

Outbreak Science Rapid PREreview (OSrPRE, is an open project in collaboration between PREreview and the non-profit organization Outbreak Science funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Similarly to PREreview, on OSrPRE users can either request or provide structured feedback on any given preprint (currently limited to those hosted on medRxiv, bioRxiv, and arXiv) in the fields of infectious disease and public health.

Rapid reviews are open (but may be anonymous) and are designed to capture structured high-level input on the importance and quality of the research that can be aggregated across many reviews.

Technical overview (Github Repository)

This project implements the OSrPRE backend, website, and browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome. The frontend is a React application; the backend is an Express server. Other backend services used include Redis for in-memory caching and Cloudant for durable storage.

What we need

Our goal is to integrate the codebase from PREreview platform 1 into that of platform 2 and develop additional features for PREreview. Here’s a summary high-level technical roadmap, but we’re open to hearing your ideas and suggestions:

M1: Build/develop environment automation in platform 2

  • Dockerize production environment
  • Dockerize development environment
  • Document process to run existing unit tests in Docker (docker-run, etc.)

M2: Productionize/Harden dependencies in platform 2

  • Migrate data from Cloudant/CouchDB to Postgres
  • Deploy elastic search and migrate frontend search features.

M3: Productionize features from platform 1

  • Plan and implement database changes with data migration systems
  • Update application server and frontend
  • Unit testing and backend

M4: Implement new platform 1 features

  • Interactive writing/editing user experience to guide review composition;
  • Topic-focused review requests;
  • Content organization with topic-specific tags;
  • Tools for users to connect and recommend reviewers;
  • Contribution recognition badges linked to ORCID iDs;
  • Tools for users to save their own review template and share it with collaborators;
  • Tools for users to create and manage groups of users for preprint journal clubs;
  • Tools to search across users.

Compensation and hiring timeline

We have 35,000USD available to complete these milestones. The payment details will be negotiated with the contractor.

We are aiming to hire a developer or a team of developers for this contract by the end of March 2020.

How to respond

Please send your résumé or CV and a short letter of interest to [email protected].

PREreview is led by Daniela Saderi, Monica Granados, and Samantha Hindle, and operates as a fiscally sponsored project of Code for Science & Society, a non-profit organization focused on community and technology building for the public interest. The project has been supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Wellcome Trust, and Mozilla Foundation. This current work is funded by Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Code for Science & Society is an equal opportunity employer committed to hiring a diverse workforce at all levels of the organization, creating a culture that allows us to better serve our projects, our employees, and our communities. We value and encourage the contributions of our employees and strive to create an environment where everyone can reach their full potential and drive outstanding results. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by local, state, or federal law. This policy applies with regard to all aspects of one’s employment, including hiring, transfer, promotion, compensation, eligibility for benefits, and termination.