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New journal proposes triple blind review process

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From Matters:

Your submission enters a triple-blind peer review process, meaning that the handling editors have no personal information on the authors and assign the observations to reviewers solely on the basis of the content. The reviewers also do not know who you are, where you live or the institution where you work.


We believe in free access to scientific data. Hence, all articles published in Matters are, of course, freely available to everyone through our Open Access Creative Commons licence. We also allow publishing of the raw and unprocessed data linked to the article, thus promoting Open Data and Science.

Matters charges $150/submission for non-profit entities, $300/submission for for-profit entities, though the first 500 submissions are free of charge. Matters directs 50% of the gross receipts to the handling editors and reviewers who do the real work of science publishing. For those handling editors and reviewers who do not wish to, or are not able to, accept payment for editing and reviewing papers, we offer a choice of validated charitable organizations to which they can direct these funds.

We need a revolution in science publishing. To do this, we need you. If you would like to become an handling editor or reviewer, please apply online.More.

Of course, as a friend points out, even though the reviewers don’t officially know who the authors are, in a small field it might not be hard to find out (work cited or discussed, for example. But, says friend, “That is the best we can do at this point.

Thoughts from readers? Will this help, or even work? Why or why not?

See also: If peer review is working, why all the retractions?

And the latest at Retraction Watch

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Hat tip: Pos-Darwinista

I think that the goal is commendable, judge the papers on their merits, not on the knowledge about the authors, but Bob O'H has some valid points. In many cases, it is also easy to identify at least one of the authors by reviewing the references in the paper. Jonas Crump
News - it could do all sorts of things. For example, if there is a bias towards well known researchers, then imperfect blinding of reviewers (i.e. blinding where they are sometimes able to work out who the authors are) will mean there is a bias towards really well known scientists (who can be easily identified), but less so that the less well know scientists. New researchers, and obscure researchers, may have a slight advantage. Bob O'H
Bob O'H at 3, how will it change the biases, in your view? News
The problem described @2 doesn't seem related to any bias. Apparently an obvious error went undetected by the reviewers. Did the reviewers read the paper carefully? It doesn't seem so. Dionisio
It sounds like it'll be a train-smash. If the editors don't know who the authors are, how are they going to know that the reviewers are unbiased? it would be too easy to ask the authors themselves, or people in the same lab, or who were in the same lab, to review a paper? Jim Smith's point about reviewers (and editors) being able to recognise the authors is a real one - there was a study a few years ago that found that 43% of reviewers were able to correctly identify the authors. Overall I'm not convinced blinding will remove biases: it'll just change the biases. Bob O'H
Would that proposed triple blind review process help prevent problems like the one described in the below link? https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/peer-review/is-peer-review-a-sacred-cow/#comment-593408 Dionisio
I don't see how that can work. Scientists know what others in their field are working on. And reviewers will still be biased against reports that contradict their own results. It would be better just to eliminate peer review. Eliminate journals. You can publish whatever you want for free on the internet. Let the research stand for itself rather than relying on the reputation of a journal for acceptance. Other people, experts in the field or otherwise, can comment publicly, using a pseudonym if they want, also for free on the internet. Jim Smith

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