Peerage of Science drops triple-blind default

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Peerage of Science has announced that it is to default to double-blind reviewer anonymity after admitting that triple-blind reviewing is 'too big obstacle for most editors'.

The company has maintained triple-blind peer reviewer anonymity default since its formation – meaning that, in standard processes designated by authors to be anonymous, peer reviewer identity was not shown to anyone, not even editors, unless reviewers explicitly decided to disclose their name.

Janne-Tuomas Seppänen, the founder of the company, explained that this principle was a serious obstacle for wider adoption of Peerage of Science among editors: 'Especially because Peerage of Science is still quite new to most editors, the leap of faith to trust fully anonymous peer reviewers was too much for most. The fact is, while we know that our reviewers are qualified, the editors did not.'

The Peerage of Science now features this announcement: 'You agree that registered editors listed below can check your name and email address. Correspondingly, you will receive email notification with editor's name and email address if one of them checks your identity. Editor who is an author or reviewer in this process can not see your identity. Editors registering after your engagement have to ask your permission to see your identity.'

For all reviewing engagements initiated before this change, and in cases where an editor registered after the reviewing engagement happened, the old rules still apply: if an editor wants to know the author's identity in an older anonymous process, they must ask whether you would like to kindly disclose it, just for that process, and just for that editor. To help Peerage of Science grow, we recommend you agree to disclose.'

Seppänen added: 'I see that this change is inevitable, yet I must admit it is made with a heavy heart. The original idea was that each argument must stand on its own merit, not on the prestige of peer's name, or lack of it. It was a sincere idea, just not a very successful one. But I am happy that the bigger, more important innovations Peerage of Science brings to peer review can now grow better.

'Open engagement, peer-review-of-peer-review, and concurrent consideration are much more important issues than anonymity. I am also happy that participating editors can now see that peers really are the same trustworthy scientists they would solicit in the traditional system. Eager post-docs, eloquent professors, luminary members of national science academies. And if an editor wants to use triple-blind they can still do so – simply by avoiding to click the Identity button next to the peer review.