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Types of peer review

The three most common types of peer review are single blind, double blind, and open peer review. Overtime, new models have developed such as transparent, collaborative, and post publication peer review, which are key variations from the standard approach. Peer review is constantly evolving, with new models and changes to traditional models being experimented with regularly. You can find the peer review policies for individual Wiley journals here.





Here is a simplified guide to the different models of peer review:


Single blind

Author doesn't know the identiy of the reviewer.

Double blind

Reviewer doesn't know the identity of the author, and vice-versa.

Open Peer review

The identity of the author and the reviewer is known by all participants, during or after the review process.

Transparent Peer review

Review report is posted with the published article. Reviewer can choose if they want to share their identity.

Collaborative

  • Two or more reviewers work together to submit a unified report.

  • OR


  • Author revises manuscript under the supervision of one or more reviewers.

Post publication

Review solicited or unsolicited, of a published paper. Does not exclude other forms of peer review.


Please select a peer review style for more details:


Single blind review

In this type of peer review the author does not know who the reviewers are. This is the most common form of peer review among science journals.

Pros

  • The anonymity allows the reviewer to be honest without fear of criticism from an author
  • Knowing who the author is (and their affiliation) allows the reviewer to use their knowledge of the author's previous research

Cons

  • Knowledge of the author may overshadow the quality of the work - potentially leading to a lack of scrutiny, especially if it's the work of an author with a dazzling track record
  • There is the potential for discrimination based on gender or nationality. Discrimination based on non-scientific criteria is clearly unacceptable, but in the case of perceived discrimination on the basis of nationality it is often conflated with discrimination on the basis of bad English. A reviewer might receive too many manuscripts written in bad English from a particular country and might subconsciously develop a particular negative sensitivity to anything from that country. For individual researchers, the best way to rule out this kind of discrimination is to make sure that your article is written in the best possible English, thereby demonstrating sensitivity for the time and effort that a reviewer will expend on assessing it.
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Double blind review

In this type of peer review the reviewers don't know the identity of authors, and vice versa. This is the most common form of peer review amongst social science and humanities journals.

Pros

  • Research is judged fairly, keeping bias out of the equation
  • Author and reviewer benefit from some level of protection against criticism

Cons

  • Anonymity isn't guaranteed, as it could be fairly straightforward to discover the identity of the author (either because of the area of research, the references or the writing style)
  • Some argue that knowledge of the author's identity helps the reviewer come to a more informed judgement - and that without this the review suffers
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Open peer review

The identity of the author and the reviewers are known by all participants. There is a growing minority of journals using this form of peer review but popularity among reviewers is yet to be proven. Some journals may also publish the reviews together with final articles, and so readers see both the identity of the reviewers and their comments. This is only the case, however, with accepted articles.

Pros

  • The transparency of open peer review encourages accountability and civility, generally improving the overall quality of the review and article
  • Reviewers are more motivated to do a thorough job since their names and sometimes comments appear as part of the accepted, published article

Cons

  • Some reviewers might refuse to review for a journal using an open system, due to concerns about being identified as the source of a negative review
  • Reviewers could be reluctant to criticize the work of more senior researchers - especially if their career depends on them. In smaller research communities and in some regions of the world this could be a significant problem

Transparent peer review

With transparent peer review, peer reviewers’ reports, authors’ responses, and editors’ decision letters are published alongside the accepted articles. This process is still fully compatible with journals using single- or double- blind review during the review process. Authors are given the option to opt-out of transparent peer review during submission. For journals participating in Wiley’s Manuscript Transfer Program, transferred reviewer reports will not be published without authors' and reviewers' prior consent.

Learn about our Transparent Peer Review pilot in collaboration with Publons and ScholarOne (part of Clarivate, Web of Science).


Collaborative review

This covers a broad variety of approaches in which a team of people work together to undertake the review. One format is to have two or more reviewers work together to review the paper, discuss their opinions and submit a unified report. Another approach is to have one or more reviewers collaborate with the author to improve the paper, until it reaches a publishable standard.

Pros

  • It can feel more constructive and less restrictive than more traditional approaches to peer review, as it removes the barriers that silo authors and reviewers

Cons

  • There is a risk of losing the benefit of having two, or more, independent evaluations
  • Collaboration between authors and reviewers also creates the risk of blurring the distinction between authoring and appraisal

Post publication review

With this type of peer review, the option for appraisal and revision of a paper continues - or occurs - after publication. This may take the form of a comments page or discussion forum alongside the published paper. Crucially, post publication peer review does not exclude other forms of peer review and is usually in addition to, rather than instead of, pre-publication review.

Pros

  • This approach reflects the evolving nature of knowledge
  • It gives the opportunity for papers to be corrected or improved

Cons

  • Revising papers after publication is incompatible with the notion of the version of record, which seems integral to the current model of contextualizing new research through citation of previous literature
  • Shortcomings and errors within published material have traditionally been addressed through corrections and errata, and through published discussion (e.g. letters to the editor)

Transferrable peer review

Some of Wiley's journals participate in a Manuscript Transfer Program. If an author’s initial submission is not accepted, they may choose to transfer their manuscript to a more suitable Wiley journal. If the manuscript was peer reviewed, the reviewer reports (including the reviewer’s name, email, and review) will transfer to the new journal along with the manuscript files, to be considered by the new journal’s editor.



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