IOP Publishing launches double-blind peer-review trial

16 Jan 2017 simond

IOP Publishing has announced it will start offering authors the choice of single or double-blind peer review on two of its materials and biophysics/engineering journals.

As part of a commitment to engage closely with research communities and meet researchers’ future needs, IOP Publishing is experimenting with different peer review models. It will start offering the double-blind option on the journals Materials Research Express (MRX) and Biomedical Physics & Engineering Express (BPEX) from 16 January 2017

Feedback from these scientific communities suggests there is a growing demand for double-blind review, in which the reviewer doesn’t know the identity of the author. Through this pilot scheme, IOP Publishing aims to gain specific insight into the level of interest and uptake of double-blind review from authors in the broad areas of materials science and biomedical physics/engineering.

All IOP Publishing journals currently use the conventional “single-blind” peer-review model, in which the reviewer is aware of the author’s identity, but the author does not know who reviewed their paper. Under this new scheme, authors will be able to choose whether to submit their paper to the single-blind process or, if they prefer, to double-blind peer review where neither reviewer nor author knows the other’s identity.

“This is a very exciting innovation for IOP Publishing, and one that will provide a unique new option for the materials and biophysics/engineering communities, putting us at the forefront of the debate around peer review. We await with great interest the response of researchers in these communities to this pilot scheme,” said Simon Harris, Managing Editor at IOP Publishing.

The pilot scheme will run on MRX and BPEX for one year (January – December 2017), during which time IOP Publishing will track:

  • take up from authors of the double-blind option for direct submissions
  • authors’ satisfaction with the double-blind review process
  • any effects on peer-review and publication times.

Simon Harris said: “We’re keen to find out as much as we can about what our authors, reviewers and the wider research community think of the double-blind option. We’ll monitor how well the scheme is received and, at the end of the year-long pilot in January 2018, we’ll let the community know what we’ve learned, and whether or not we plan to continue with the double-blind option on our journals.”