Reviewers' Decision to Sign Reviews is Related to Their Recommendation


  • Nino van Sambeek
  • Daniel Lakens Eindhoven University of Technology



Peer Review, Open Reviews, Transparency, Open Science


Surveys indicate that researchers generally have a positive attitude towards open peer review when this consists of making reviews available alongside published articles. Researchers are more negative about revealing the identity of reviewers. They worry reviewers will be less likely to express criticism if their identity is known to authors. Experiments suggest that reviewers are somewhat less likely to recommend rejection when they are told their identity will be communicated to authors, than when they will remain anonymous. One recent study revealed reviewers in five journals who voluntarily signed their reviews gave more positive recommendations than those who did not sign their reviews. We replicate and extend this finding by analyzing 12010 open reviews in PeerJ and 4188 reviews in the Royal Society Open Science where authors can voluntarily sign their reviews. These results based on behavioral data from real peer reviews across a wide range of scientific disciplines demonstrate convincingly that reviewers’ decision to sign is related to their recommendation. The proportion of signed reviews was higher for more positive recommendations, than for more negative recommendations. We also share all 23649 text-mined reviews as raw data underlying our results that can be re-used by researchers interested in peer review.


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