As an academician, we do peer-review (sometimes double-blind, sometimes single-blind; it doesn't matter).

Usually, I create a file where I list my peer-review assessment of a paper. The file includes Summary, Positives, Negatives, and Recommendation.

Is it okay to get a feedback on my assessment from a colleague without sharing the original manuscript [1] itself?

The idea behind getting a feedback has following benefits:

  • It might set the peer-review tone right.
  • Sometimes, it could add more clarity to the review.
  • Any language issues.

[1] It is not right to share the original manuscript with others. I treat it as confidential.

  • Don't really get why you want to get a feedback of your feedback from your colleague? Usually there is more than one reviewer...
    – P. G.
    Mar 7, 2018 at 8:17
  • 1
    @P.G. That is the reason why I want to get a feedback. I want my review to be counted by the editor and helpful to the author.
    – Coder
    Mar 7, 2018 at 11:07
  • have you hear of Publons?
    – SSimon
    Mar 7, 2018 at 11:24
  • 1
    Does your field have any open-review journals? They tend to published all pre-publishing correspondences, which you can refer to for general style. Mar 7, 2018 at 12:38
  • I would find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to read and understand a review without being able to read the original paper. To me, a review is highly contextual, and can be understood only if the paper being reviewed can be accessed as well. As @jakebeal, I admire your seriousness in that matter, but I don't think the method you are suggesting will do any good.
    – Clément
    Mar 20, 2018 at 4:29

1 Answer 1


It sounds like what you are looking for is some degree of mentorship on reviewing.

Many journals and conferences already explicitly support a somewhat different form of reviewing mentorship through "sub-reviewers" or "delegate reviewers." In this system, the person assigned the review can share the paper with somebody else (e.g., a professor to their graduate student) who produces the draft review. The assigned reviewer then goes over the draft review with them, adjusting as necessary, and uploads it with both names on it as reviewer and sub-reviewer (many professors also abuse this as a way to farm out their service work with inadequate supervision, but that's a discussion for another time).

The key point I am making is that, from an ethical perspective, a large number scientific of publications have already set a precedent in declaring that it can be appropriate to privately share a manuscript and its review for the purposes of mentorship in reviewing. Your situation has a different workflow, since you are the one being assigned the review, but the information sharing relationship is the same. Thus, I believe that sharing the review and even the original manuscript would be entirely reasonable and ethical as long as you take the same precautions as one would in deciding on sub-reviewer (e.g., avoiding people with conflicts of interest, making sure the other person understands the confidentiality requirements).

I commend you for the concern you are showing for the quality of your professional service, and recommend you follow through.

  • Great answer Professor. I caught a lot of insights on sub-reviewing about which I had no idea.
    – Coder
    Mar 20, 2018 at 4:32

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