15

When you are doing a second round review, do you read other reviewers' comments? Why? It seems to me that all I need to do is seeing whether the author/s satisfied my comments and whether I find any more problems in the current version of their manuscript.

4 Answers 4

32

I do read the other reports, and other reviewers should too. A few reasons:

  • If the editor has an author's response letter and two reviews, and the three documents say different things, then the editor will be very confused. If I see the other reviewer and the author disagree, then I try to be a tie-breaker to help the editor.
  • Authors are not in a place where they can convincingly say the other reviewer is wrong. If I see that the other reviewer has made a mistake, I can point it out much more effectively than the authors because I am a neutral party. Ideally, editors would be able to do this, but they have limited time.
  • By reading other reviewers' comments, I can learn to be a better reviewer.
1
  • 6
    Yes to your three points. I also look for one more thing: How did the authors respond to the reveiwers' comments. If authors had reasonable responses, it's easy to look at. Likewise, if the authors ignored then without reason, it's easy to criticize them for that. And, if the authors disagree with the reviewer, your point 2 comes into play and you can help the editor. Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 15:45
10

It is probably best to be as informed as possible at that stage. There is likely no need to repeat comments of others. It might also inform you of things you missed.

However, it does reduce the independence of reviews. If that is important to you, the journal, or the field, you should probably avoid it and deal exclusively with the paper itself.

So, the answer is, it depends. But if you have been sent those reviews by the editor, they may expect you to read them.

2
  • 13
    The paper may have been changed, since the first review, in ways that I consider undesirable. If those changes were requested by another reviewer, my comments about them might be different than if they were the author's idea. At the very least, I'd formulate my comments in a way that doesn't blame the author for following another reviewer's suggestions. Commented Mar 19, 2020 at 18:38
  • 6
    If you value independence, you can first perform an independent review first and then have a look at the other reviews to ensure that there are no unnecessary conflicts, etc.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 9:16
3

Tangential, but I'm guessing that you'll be interested: it is pretty rare for reviewers to explicitly refer to another reviewer's report in their comments. "The authors have not addressed my comments #1, #5 and #9" is very common; "the authors have not addressed the comments #2 and #4 by the other reviewer" is not.

That said, this does not mean the reviewer is not looking at another reviewer's report - there are reasons to do so, e.g. if the paper changes in a way the first reviewer did not like but was requested by a second reviewer, or they might just be curious what others thought about the paper. However, if the reviewers are doing this, they don't indicate it explicitly.

1
  • In the end I did read them. I didn't disagree with anything. Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 0:03
0

Different people have different ways of looking at things. In my experience, the issues that different reviewers raise are rarely overlapping completely, and sometimes even not at all. I think this is one of the key reasons why there are multiple reviewers in the first place.

Looking at the comments of the other reviewers will give you the opportunity to look at the paper through someone elses eyes, someone with a different education, different experiences and different methodology. By observing and analyzing what shortcomings others have found that yourself have "overlooked" or better, not perceived as such, you will learn a more holistic approach to reviewing and a better idea of what others - and not only yourself - need to find a paper well structured, interestig and understandable.

I always found it very beneficial to look at the other's commments for that reason, and I strongly believe doing so will make you both a better reviewer and will also enhance your own writing and research skills.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .