Journal policies and editors’ opinions on peer review

Daniel G. Hamilton, Hannah Fraser, Rink Hoekstra, Fiona Fidler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Peer review practices differ substantially between journals and disciplines. This study presents the results of a survey of 322 editors of journals in ecology, economics, medicine, physics and psychology. We found that 49% of the journals surveyed checked all manuscripts for plagiarism, that 61% allowed authors to recommend both for and against specific reviewers, and that less than 6% used a form of open peer review. Most journals did not have an official policy on altering reports from reviewers, but 91% of editors identified at least one situation in which it was appropriate for an editor to alter a report. Editors were also asked for their views on five issues related to publication ethics. A majority expressed support for co-reviewing, reviewers requesting access to data, reviewers recommending citations to their work, editors publishing in their own journals, and replication studies. Our results provide a window into what is largely an opaque aspect of the scientific process. We hope the findings will inform the debate about the role and transparency of peer review in scholarly publishing.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere62529
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

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