An anonymity problem | Letters | Times Higher Education
"I write in response to the article on whether post-publication peer review can endure the legal action launched by a US scientist who claims that anonymous comments posted on Pub Peer cost him a job offer ('The thin line between libel and criticism', Research intelligence, 13 November). When scientists’ livelihoods are at stake because of competition for funding and jobs, a process that allows anonymity would seem to provide an open invitation for inappropriate behaviour by some. Similar issues occur in the traditional peer review process in biomedical journals. There is good evidence – from a 2010 study in the British Medical Journal and from others that have employed open peer review for many years – that an open peer review process does not decrease the quality of the referee report but does make the report more constructive on all sides (author, editor – if there is one – and reader). This is supported by what we have found on F1000Research, an open science publishing platform, where we use a transparent process with immediate publication, fully transparent post-publication peer review, and open data. We have had no legal difficulties with any of our invited peer review reports or with comments. Our referees are formally invited, on behalf of the authors, and their reports are published alongside the article with their full name and affiliation (and are also citable, as Philip Moriarty suggests in the article) ..."