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Nature will publish peer review reports as a trial

Research involves deep discussions between authors and reviewers. Starting this week, readers of some Nature Research journals will be able to see this up close.

Research communities are unanimous in acknowledging the value of peer review, but there’s a growing desire for more transparency in the process. As part of that, researchers want to see how publishing decisions are made, and they want greater assurance that referees and editors act with integrity and without bias.

For many journals, including Nature, peer review has typically been single-blind — that is, authors do not know who is reviewing their paper. At the same time, the contents of peer-review reports, and correspondence between authors, reviewers and editors, are kept confidential.

This prevents readers from seeing the often fascinating and important discussions between authors and reviewers, which are crucial in shaping and improving research and checking its integrity. Keeping these debates confidential also helps to reinforce perceptions that the research paper is the last word on a subject — when the latest finding is often simply a milestone along the scholarly journey.

Read more on - Nature 578, 8 (2020), doi: 10.1038/d41586-020-00309-9