I recently refereed a paper for a journal. There were four referees, which for the field in question(number theory), is a lot, especially for a short paper in a minor journal. I recommended a rejection based on a variety of issues. Today I got back a note that the paper had been resubmitted with extensive edits and asked to look at it again. The request to look at it again included the other three referee reports. Here's the strange bit: The referees's reports were not just included but the names as well. This question is not about seeing other referee reports but about seeing their names attached to those reports.

This partial loss of anonymity makes me uncomfortable for two reasons. First, one of the other referees is extremely senior in the field; in fact his review agreed closely with mine, but that certainly wasn't guaranteed. Second, it makes it more likely that a single referee who leaks who they are or knows one of a paper's authors could let the authors know who the other referees are. I wouldn't be so concerned about the second except that I've already had an experience (where I was an author) where a referee unmasked himself after the fact.

My question is then threefold: One how normal is the practice of including their names to the other referees in math? More generally how common is this in other fields? Third, is there a reasonable way to express my concern to the editors?

  • This seems to be a duplicate of a recently asked question. I don't have a reference to it. IIRC, the answer was, not especially normal, but not unheard of. Revealing the names of the referees to authors is not the usual practice, however. It may have been an editor error. Most reviews are blind, or even double-blind. – Buffy Nov 12 '18 at 15:53
  • @Buffy If it is a duplicate I apologize; I looked for copies of this question but wasn't able to post it. Regarding your statement that " Revealing the names of the referees to authors is not the usual practice, however.": The question here is not about revealing the referees names to the author but revealing the names to the other referees. Blindness (to the author) has been preserved. Separately, note that in math double-blind reviewing is extremely rare (subfields are small and almost everyone posts on arXiv which makes author-anonymity difficult).. – JoshuaZ Nov 12 '18 at 15:57
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    There are several; none are perfect duplicates but they in general answer your question. Try searching the stack for "other reviewer" rather than referee: 4 or 5 of the top 6 results are relevant. – Bryan Krause Nov 12 '18 at 16:04
  • @BryanKrause Not a duplicate of that question: That question is explicitly about commenting on other referees reports without having identifying information about the referees. – JoshuaZ Nov 12 '18 at 16:05
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    Please follow my suggestion to look at the other questions; as Buffy said, this question or almost exactly this question has been asked several times lately. The one I chose may not be the closest duplicate but there are several others. – Bryan Krause Nov 12 '18 at 16:06