Occasionally, in an otherwise-anonymous paper review, the reviewer will voluntarily sign their name, revealing their identity to the author.

Should reviewers do this, and under which circumstances?

(For the purposes of this question, assume that the reviewer knows the author's name - that is, the review process is not double-blinded.)

  • 2
    @Buffy The linked question is highly relevant, but it is about the editor, while this question is a about the reviewer.
    – henning
    Jan 2, 2019 at 14:51
  • I think the same considerations apply, @henning. Who reveals the reviewer seems irrelevant to me.
    – Buffy
    Jan 2, 2019 at 14:52
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    Correct - I am asking about the reviewer voluntarily doing this. The suggested duplicate concerns the editor/journal doing this. Jan 2, 2019 at 14:57
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    @henning--reinstateMonica - Not sure what to do to get this question reinstated - rather than just trying to ask it again - but I have come across a journal actively encouraging reviewers to sign their reviews which is very different to the editor or journal doing so when the process is understood to be anonymous - I think htis is an important conversation to have --- what can we do to try to reopen this??
    – tom
    Feb 23, 2021 at 0:06

1 Answer 1


I do not think the "should" word is appropriate here. Each reviewer decides whether he/she wants to sign it or not. Most reviews today are anonymous. I think it is considered sort of default by the journals today. One might tend to think that a signed review will more fair. But a decent person will do a fair review regardless of whether he/she signs it or not. When a review is signed, this could result in some unexpected complications: suppose a reviewer did not understood one of your analyses. So, once the review is signed, the author might write directly to the reviewer, without involving the editor. This might violate the review process. I also do not think that most of the reviewers are interested in such sort of communication.

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