Making peer-review process transparent

Ariberto Fassati, in a letter to Nature, suggests the following:

I therefore propose that journals’ records should be made publicly available after an adequate lapse of time, including the names of reviewers and the confidential comments exchanged between editors and reviewers. The Nobel Foundation makes all its records available after 50 years, as do many governmental and other institutions. This delay may be reduced for scientific journals to, perhaps, 15 or 20 years. This is also likely to have a positive impact on the peer-review process itself.

However, my take on this suggestion is a bit different; the peer review records should be published along with the paper–it will surely have a positive impact on the peer-review process. If the reviewers of any review insist on anonymity, in those cases alone, the reviews can be published withholding the names of reviewers, which can be made public, say after 10 years or so.

3 Responses to “Making peer-review process transparent”

  1. Biswajit Says:

    My reviews have sometimes run to 8-10 pages and may contain errors/misunderstanding on my part. Not sure whether paper versions of such reviews can be printed. However, the added bonus will be that reviewers will be doubly careful when they send in their reviews if they know that readers will read their reviews and know who they are are. The flip side is that they may not be as critical as is necessary for a proper peer review process.

  2. Guru Says:

    Dear Biswajit,

    I am not for printing paper versions of reviews; they can be hosted on a page. The reviewers, when they want to be critical, can always choose to be anonymous. But, if and when they make some constructive criticism, they can choose to have their names on the report so that their contribution is clear. And, as you say, this process will make the reviewers to be more careful about their reviewing process. In addition, having the reviews online, and allowing the community to have a discussions on the reviews also addresses your first point–if the reviewer makes any errors, and misunderstandings, they are corrected fast, to the benefit of everybody.

  3. sams Says:


    Thank you four your nice writing on Making peer-review process transparent.


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