In a previous article, we have already introduced and discussed the concept of the single-blind peer review. In this article, we are going to look at a variation of this – the double- blind peer review – and discuss the pros and cons of this methodology.
We will also directly compare the single-blind to double-blind method at the end of this article.
What is a double-blind peer review?
The double blind peer review is a process where both the author(s) and reviewer(s) are ‘blind’. In the context of peer-reviewing, this means that both parties remain anonymous to each other during and after the peer review.
What is the process for a double-blind review?
Much like the single blind review process, the blind review peer process is managed by an intermediary – usually the journal or publication in which the paper may be published.
Communication is passed between the two anonymously, where the paper is initially shared and feedback given. It is not an open discussion to discuss work back and forth.
The advantages and disadvantages
With all peer review methodologies, there are pros and cons for each.
The double blind process facilitates anonymity between both parties, which eliminates the influence of personal bias.
In the case of the author, they cannot edit their work so that it shows bias favourably towards the reviewer, and similarly, the reviewer is not biased by based on their perception of the author.
There are also disadvantages to the double-blind peer review process.
Feedback that is given to the author from the reviewer is often just that. It is feedback without any form of furthering discussion or improving upon the work presented.
Again, similarly to the single blind peer review, the anonymity and controlled communication makes it hard for both parties to discuss or communicate results, analysis of conclusions.
This also gives the reviewer the platform to be overly critical, and sometimes unfair, without the form of repercussions. As far as a reviewer is concerned, once their feedback is given, their job is done.
The double-blind and single-blind peer review methodology are both examples of the closed peer review system.
In both of these systems, the authors remain at the peril of the reviewer. Authors rely solely on the reviewers opinion and there is no option to discuss or critique work together for the sake of educational progress.
There are of course advantages and disadvantages to all methodologies, but there are other alternatives to consider such as open peer review methods.