How to publish your review reports

There has been an increase in the number of scholarly journals publishing review reports of manuscripts. This practice has also been implemented by some funders, and there are platforms for publishing review reports for preprints. Published review reports can be anonymised but they can also include the names of reviewers. Review reports metadata can (and ideally should) be indexed in bibliographic databases (e.g. Crossref, Web of Science, Scopus). And reviewer experience and links to reports can be portrayed on researchers CVs or public profiles (e.g. Publons, ORCID iD).  Additionally, some researchers have started independently publishing their own review reports as discussed for instance in this blog post by Ludo Waltman. 

To promote the publication of review reports, the Publish Your Reviews initiative was launched by ASAPbio in July 2022. This initiative calls on researchers to publish their reviews, in particular for articles they review for journals and that are available as preprints. Doing so can provide valuable contextual information to readers of preprints. The initiative is also supported by a large number of organizations, including publishers, preprint servers, peer review platforms, and research funders. Researchers are invited to sign a pledge to express their support for the Publish Your Reviews initiative.

Overview of good practices in preprint review, benefits to researchers and the research community, different platforms available for preprint review, and ways in which individual researchers can participate in preprint review are available in this online video.

Why Are More Journals Trying Transparent Peer Review 

Transparent and interactive peer review in journals was for the first time introduced by Copernicus in 2001. Later on, BMC journals, Biology Direct, EMBO Journals, eLife, F1000, and BMJ introduced similar models. Despite the radical change in the peer review model since the early 2000s, evidence was lacking on how this change impacts the peer reviewer performance.

For two years, from 2015 to 2017 Elsevier piloted publication of the peer review reports with/without the reviewers’ name (based on their consent) alongside all accepted papers for 5 journals in engineering and surgery running under single-anonymized peer review model. Later analysis of the impact of the pilot on the reviewer performance showed the pilot had no significant impact on the reviewer invite-accept and completion rate, or on the speed of the peer review. Surveying authors also showed that the majority would consider the journal for their future publication based on the new practice. (Disclaimer: One of the authors, Bahar Mehmani, is the head of the The PRC Committee.)

While the Elsevier pilot focused on the transparency of reviewer comment, The Springer Nature’s 2016 study looked at reviewer identity transparency model and its impact on the reviewer acceptance rate. The BioMed Central and SpringerOpen journals study was a retrospective analysis on 498 journals that use the 3 different peer review models in biomedicine, chemistry, clinical medicine, computer science, earth science, engineering, health sciences, life sciences, mathematics, and physics. They calculated the proportion of invited reviewers accepting an invitation to review or re-review a manuscript per journal per month between June 1, 2001, and July 1, 2015, for single-anonymized and open identity journals and between February 1, 2011, and July 1, 2015, for double-anonymized peer review journals. They found out that the reviewer invite-acceptance rate for double-anonymized journals was the highest among the three different peer review models.

A Wiley pilot of publishing review reports in 2019, with or without names , depending on the reviewer consent, showed similar findings with 87% of authors agreeing to have peer reviewers’ reports, their own authors’ responses, and the editors’ decision letters published alongside their articles.