In a previous article, we have discussed the main types of peer review methodologies available to academic researchers who look to get their work published.
The appropriateness of the methodology is often decided on behalf of authors and reviewers by the publishing journal.
In this short blog post, we will discuss the single-blind peer review process and touch on some of its advantages and disadvantages.
Definition of a Single-Blind Peer Review
A single-blind review is one of the most common forms of peer review.
In this case, it refers to the authors being ‘blind’ – the author(s) are not aware of the reviewers. That contrasts with the reviewer(s) who are fully aware of the author(s) at all times.
The Single-Blind Peer Review Process
In order to facilitate the process, communications will be managed by the third party. The more established journals usually automate this process, allowing an online management system to facilitate uploading of papers and feedback of reviewers.
Advantages of Single-Blind Review
On the face of it, you may think that the single-blind peer review system simply favours the reviewer.
This method ensures that the author(s) cannot exert any influence on the reviewer(s), whether that be indirectly through what is written in a paper, or through direct communication between the two parties.
Compared to the double-blind peer review method, it also means that reviewers can filter out authors with a ‘bad reputation’ to speed up and streamline the peer review process – albeit at the detriment of the author.
The reviewer(s) are also empowered to critique and give completely honest feedback on any work without the fear of repercussions.
Disadvantages of Single-Blind Review
Some academics see both of the advantages we just mentioned as disadvantages, which has helped to introduce other types of peer review, such as the double-blind or open peer review.
Allowing reviewers to be anonymous gives them a platform to be critical, typically more so than if their identities were revealed.
And this is made worse when authors cannot seek any sort of clarification or engage in a discussion once feedback has been delivered.
What Peer Review Methodology is Best?
This depends on the needs of each journal or field. There is no one ‘best’ solution.
In a very specialised or uncontroversial field, it may suffice to use single-blind peer review, as reviewers are likely to be fair. In other fields, more openness is definitely needed, as reviewers and editors are likely to be biased.
Alethes.net deals with some of the most controversial themes, such as ideology and human reproduction, so we are implementing our own system.