©Matt Clark

We’re starting a new initiative to make our peer review process more open and visible. If you submit a manuscript to Methods in Ecology and Evolution from today onwards, you’ll be able to choose to make the review process transparent.

But what does that actually mean? How will the process work? And why are we doing it?

Keep reading to find out!

How Does Transparent Peer Review Work?

When you submit a manuscript to Methods in Ecology and Evolution, you’ll be asked if you’d like to be part of our transparent peer review model (every manuscript will be included by default, but you can opt out). If you choose to stay with the transparent peer review model and your manuscript is published, the peer reviewers’ reports, your responses, and the editors’ decisions will be published alongside your final article. You can see an example of how this might look here.

As an author, all you need to do is check the box in the submission process to let us know whether or not you’d like the reviews for your manuscript to be published. If you change your mind after any round of revisions, you can opt out at a later stage.

If you’re reviewing a paper that the author has chosen to make transparent, you’ll have the option to disclose your names in your review or remain anonymous. The peer review history will be openly available on a page hosted by Publons. The link to this page will be included in the published article (both the HTML and PDF version). Each part of the transparent review has a DOI (the reviews, the responses and the decision letters), ensuring each element is fully citable. If you’ve chosen to sign your review, the DOI can also be added to your ORCiD record.

What are the Benefits of Transparent Peer Review?

Increased transparency has many benefits. It helps us to make the peer review process more accountability, creates opportunities for peer review training, and – for reviewers who sign their reports – specific and qualitative recognition.

In recent years, there has been increased support for transparent review in some communities. There have also been blogs and editorials explaining how this model of peer review is working for other journals. The interview with Reiner Veitia (Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Genetics) here and another with the Editors of the European Journal of Neuroscience are excellent examples of this.

Based on previous trials of this system, it seems that it’s popular with both authors and reviewers. Our new transparent peer review system is a great opportunity for us to make our review process more open and we’re really excited about it. We hope that you are too!