Nature Begins Publishing Peer Reviews

February 6, 2020

By Bio-IT World Staff 

February 6, 2020 | Nature Research announced yesterday that its flagship publication, Nature, will join others in the family in publishing peer review correspondence. Nature Biomedical Engineering, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Ecology & Evolution, Nature Human Behaviour, Nature Immunology, Nature Microbiology, Nature Structural & Molecular Biology are among the journals that will publish such reports. Nature Communications has been doing so since 2016.

Calling the effort a “trial”, editors explained that starting today, authors of new submissions can choose to have, “anonymous referee reports published, along with their own responses and rebuttals, once a manuscript is ready for publication… Referees can also choose to be named, should they desire,” they continue. The publication has given referees, or reviewers, that option since 2016. About 80% of the journal’s papers has at least one named referee.  

While much of the scientific community has spoken out in favor of more transparent peer review, there have been some concerns. Perhaps, some suggest, reviewers will “go easier” on papers in hopes that they’ll earn reciprocal treatment later.

“The experience from Nature Communications negates this concern,” the editors write. “The vast majority of our reports are already written in a professional and constructive manner — greatly enhancing the integrity of our research papers — so we do not want our reviewers to change what they do now.”