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I have a paper that was refereed, accepted, and published. The referee's report was overwhelming positive and enthusiastic about my paper and results.

Now that the paper is fully published, is it appropriate for me to ask the journal to get me in touch with the referee of the paper?

If relevant, this is in the field of astronomy/astrophysics and the journal is The Astrophysical Journal.

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    may be relevant: why do you want to get in contact with that referee? Jul 24, 2023 at 16:47
  • Was the review double blind or do you know the identity of the referee? Jul 25, 2023 at 16:53
  • @FerventHippo Double blind would mean that the referee doesn't know that XYZT was the author. I would be surprised if any journal divulged the identity of a referee (not to mention it would make contacting the referee much easier).
    – Teepeemm
    Jul 25, 2023 at 18:43
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    It was a single blind review, which is the norm in my field as people usually post a preprint on arXiv as they submit the paper to a journal - so even if the journal attempts a double blind review, the referee would see the paper pop up on their arXiv feed the next day.
    – XYZT
    Jul 25, 2023 at 20:29

2 Answers 2

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The handling editor is the right person to ask. Tell them why you'd like to contact the reviewer. If it for possible future collaboration, it might be possible. One way for the editor to handle it is to pass your request to the reviewer, letting them decide whether to contact you.

If you just want to thank them, then the editor could pass that on and maintain the anonymity.

Contact with the reviewer would probably make it impossible for them to review any future paper of yours, I suspect.

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    The last para is most important for the OP
    – learner
    Jul 24, 2023 at 19:29
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    Regarding, "Contact with the reviewer would probably make it impossible for them to review any future paper of yours, I suspect." I am not sure how this works in practice because my sub-field is very small, and almost certainly people who know of each other end up refereeing each other's papers.
    – XYZT
    Jul 24, 2023 at 20:12
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    Contact with the reviewer would probably make it impossible for them to review any future paper of yours, I suspect. I'm not so sure about this. Collaboration with the reviewer would disqualify them as a reviewer (at least for several years), but contact seems much less likely.
    – Allure
    Jul 25, 2023 at 0:47
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    @Allure, perhaps I should have said "arranged contact".
    – Buffy
    Jul 25, 2023 at 9:47
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    I am sorry but at least in my field the last statement is plain wrong. Reviewers very often will know and have discussed with the authors. Only close and recent collaboration, being part of the same institution, or very close academic relationship in the past (e.g. supervisor - PhD student relation) would disqualify for manuscript review.
    – frederik
    Jul 26, 2023 at 8:02
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Now that the paper is fully published, is it appropriate for me to ask the journal to get me in touch with the referee of the paper?

Is it possible to ask the journal to get you in touch with a/the referee(s), yes you can.

Is it appropriate, that is subjective. Responses will differ. An overriding factor will be ... why are you or why do you want to get in touch ...

  • to thank; possible, however the handling editor might just be 'pass on person' and keep confidentiality
  • to engage further, it is possible, the handling editor will likewise facilitate
  • for further collaboration, also possible, the handling editor will likewise facilitate.

Once there's engagement beyond just thanking, conflict (would normally) kick in.

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