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IOP Publishing launches double-blind peer-review trial

IOP Publishing, part of the Institute of Physics, 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.

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.

Feedback from these scientific communities suggests there is a growing demand for double-blind review, because it may be perceived as fairer by authors as it reduces the scope for unconscious bias on the part of referees.

“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.”

Simon Harris, Managing Editor at IOP Publishing

IOP Publishing will monitor how well the scheme is received during the year-long pilot until January 2018.