Is it time for BJSM to go to open review?

Right now BJSM has double blind review — we ask authors to anonymize their papers, reviewers’ names are shrouded in secrecy. BJSM is the only BMJ publication that has this policy.

Is it time to adopt BMJ approach and have open review? Do you believe the evidence that ‘big name’ authors have papers accepted more readily? Do you believe that there are personal and corporate pressures that influence reviewers? Fiona Godlee, editor of BMJ commented on this in 2002.

Let us know on the blog as we reconsider this policy at BJSM.

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  • Dr Mike Turner

    Yes – BJSM should go to open review

    MT

  • Yes, BJSM should have an open review policy. Both authors and reviewers should succeed or fail based on their arguments and the evidence they provide. Too many reviewers ‘hide’ behind the veil of anonymity and therefore say things they wouldn’t say to an author in person. An open review policy would make reviewers more accountable for their actions and make them think twice about what they said in a review. As a reviewer for BJSM I have no problem in putting my name to the reviews I submit and I hope others feel the same.

    Grant Abt Ph.D.

  • I am not fussed about open or blind review, but I think reviewers’ names should actually be published with the paper when it finally goes to print. That way reviewers, who work for nothing, get a little bit of credit in the publication once it goes to print. They also can risk a bit of potential humiliation (along with the authors) if the study later turns out to be a howler. Reviewers could also have their stats published on the website, so that all and sundry can see if there are certain reviewers that pass everything or reject everything. However, reviewers will still have to live or die by their names appearing next to papers which they have let through.

  • kkhan

    Thanks for this comment John and peer review remains a hot topic for obvious reason. As an editor, I imagine it will be more difficult to have reviewers volunteer with the ‘open review’ system. I wonder whether a first step might be to make it optional for the reviewer to have her/his name listed with the paper. This would parallel the system currently involved in review – but not carried through to publication. Interesting!

    Do other readers have opinions on this? Should we publish reviewers’ names with papers – either in cases where the reviewer agrees, or in all cases?