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Peer Review: Open Peer Review

A guide to the peer review process and different models of review.

Open Peer Review

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There is no one definition of what open peer review is. There are many different ways of reviewing that fall under the "open" moniker. Open peer review differs from traditional peer review in that, generally, one or more of these conditions exist: the identities of both the authors and the reviewers are known from the beginning; reviewer comments are published; community participation in reviewing is allowed, greater interaction between authors, reviewers, and/or editors exists; there is review of preprints; reviewers comment after publication of the manuscript; the peer review process takes place in a separate place than the publication process.

Why does open peer review exist? Open peer review aims to tackle some of the persistent issues that members of the academic, scientific, and/or research communities have with traditional peer review, including:

  • subjectivity - reviews rely on human judgment and thus decisions can be inconsistently applied
  • protracted and expensive process - can take many months and have a large cost in terms of reviewer time, publication costs, and author revisions
  • lack of transparency - if identities are masked, all parties can potentially employ unethical practices in the peer review process
  • biases - studies indicate that peer reviewers are often susceptible to various forms of biases, influencing what eventually gets accepted for publication
  • poor rewards system for reviewers - work is usually unpaid and not acknowledged due to masking
  • lack of opportunity to educate with useful reviewer commentary - reviews and discussions on topics can be useful to more than just the authors of a single manuscript, but not having them be public takes away that opportunity for community education


Sources: Ross-Hellauer T. What is open peer review? A systematic review. F1000Research. 2017;6:588 [version 2; peer review: 4 approved]. Available from

PLOS [Internet]. San Francisco CA: PLOS; c2021. Open peer review; [date unknown]. Available from

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