Genome Biology will begin in January to publish peer reviewers' takes alongside its journal articles.
The journal conducted a pilot assessment in which it analyzed whether a transparent peer review process affects reviewers' willingness to take part or the process itself. As Genome Biology's Andrew Cosgrove and Barbara Cheifet write, they compared 68 manuscripts that underwent traditional, single-blind peer review and 46 manuscripts that underwent transparent review for at least one round. In this transparent review, reviewers' assessments are made public, though not the reviewers' names.
Cosgrove and Cheifet report that they didn't find any additional reluctance on the part of reviewers to take part in such a review. For both arms of their analysis, they needed to invite an average 3.1 reviewers to get one reviewer. They add that no reviewer explicitly declined to take part because of the transparent review.
In addition, they found no difference in reviewers' degree of criticism between the arms of the trials, indicating that reviewers didn't seem to pull their punches if they knew their reviews would be made available. Both arms had similar rejection or revision request rates.
Based on these results, Cosgrove and Cheifet announce that, beginning the first of the year, all manuscripts submitted to Genome Biology are to go through transparent peer review.