Identifying reviewers is argued to improve the quality and fairness of peer review, but is generally disfavoured by reviewers. To gain some insight into the factors that influence when reviewers are willing to have their identity revealed, I examined which reviewers voluntarily reveal their identities to authors at the journal Functional Ecology, at which reviewer identities are confidential unless reviewers sign their comments to authors. I found that 5.6% of reviewers signed their comments to authors. This proportion increased slightly over time, from 4.4% in 2003-2005 to 6.7% in 2013-2015. Male reviewers were 1.8 times more likely to sign their comments to authors than were female reviewers, and this difference persisted over time. Few reviewers signed all of their reviews; reviewers were more likely to sign their reviews when their rating of the manuscript was more positive, and papers that had at least one signed review were more likely to be invited for revision. Signed reviews were, on average, longer and recommended more references to authors. My analyses cannot distinguish cause and effect for the patterns observed, but my results suggest that 'open-identities' review, in which reviewers are not permitted to be anonymous, will probably reduce the degree to which reviewers are critical in their assessment of manuscripts and will differentially affect recruitment of male and female reviewers, negatively affecting the diversity of reviewers recruited by journals.
|Journal||Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences|
|State||Published - Oct 27 2021|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was approved by the University of Kentucky's Institutional Review Board (grant no. IRB 15-0890) and was supported in part by the Kentucky Agricultural Research Station at the University of Kentucky. The BES provided some funding to support this project. Acknowledgements
© 2021 The Author(s).
- blind review
- open review
- open-identities review
- peer review
- scholarly publishing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology (all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
- Environmental Science (all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)