It is common practice in computer science to have papers peer-reviewed, however this is often not made public and after the paper has been published it is hard to find ANY reviews on the paper. There will always be mistakes in scientific papers and if someone points out the flaws in a simple manner in a review it could save everyone a great deal of time. Some things are of course too complex or subjective, to be put into a single paragraph, but there are plenty of things that can be pointed out.

My question is why are there no reviews included on sites like ACM or IEEE? Papers sometimes have thousands of citations, but not a single comment or review has been linked. Or are there simply no reviews and comments available? Does the conversation and discussion take place somewhere else?

  • 1
    In mathematics, there are the Mathematical Reviews, published by the American Mathematical Society (see ams.org/mathscinet though it is behind a paywall). Similarly, the Zentralblatt, published by the European Mathematical Society (zbmath.org). Usually these give summaries of published papers, but they sometimes point out errors. May 26, 2015 at 10:27
  • There is (or used to be) an ACM publication called Computing Reviews which is/was similar to Mathematical Reviews. The quality of the reviews (in Computing Reviews) was highly variable, though, and sometimes was little more than a minor modification of the published abstract. In an April issue in the 1970s, the journal self-deprecatingly referred to itself as Computing Refuse and as Confusing Reviews. Oct 2, 2016 at 21:23

2 Answers 2


Usually the issues pointed out in a review have been corrected by the time the manuscript has been published, so old reviews wouldn't really be relevant to the online version.

Critiques of published articles are sometimes prepared, if one thinks the issue is significant enough; they're usually published as "Comments" or "Responses" to the article in question. However, since they're normally also peer-reviewed, they won't simply be appended to the article, but instead have their own independent status.

As for the reason why more articles don't have reviews and commentary associated with them—it takes a lot of time to do so, and that's time that can be used to make progress in one's own research. And there isn't much incentive right now for such efforts.

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    In addition to 'fixed' issues, the reviewers' comments and authors' responses may also contain other useful points not mentioned in the published version. I found it very useful to have a look at the review history of open access articles.
    – Orion
    Oct 2, 2016 at 6:58

My personal experience is that the review comments should be accessible to the reader.

I do not think preparing such a document is time consuming for the editorials because the review process is a back and fourth process between the author and reviewers. And their could be few rounds of re-submissions before the paper is accepted (for example in IEEE journals). Therefore, it is meaningful to make it public all the previous submissions (together with review comments and author replies). And these documents can be appended on top of each other based on their time of submissions.

The other simple approach of providing more information about the paper is by revealing quantifiable review results. For instance, again in IEEE there is a question to rate the novelty, appropriateness, timeliness etc.

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    How do you preserve the confidentiality of the reviews?
    – Nobody
    Oct 2, 2016 at 3:11
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    What do you do if the first version of a paper contains an incorrect and slanderous comment about other researchers' papers? Right now, the reviewer asks the author to delete the comment, and they generally comply. Oct 2, 2016 at 3:28
  • Thanks for the reply. It is correct that making the review comment available for the public may have negative impacts (to the level where it may hurt the reputation of the author). However, its advantage far outperforms its disadvantages as I stated above. I suggest to leave the judgement to the readers. Blocking such comments will not show the true strength of the paper. As an example, imagine we have two accepted papers one get 5 (novelty) and 8 (presentation) whereas, the other get 9 (novelty) and 6 (presentation). Oct 2, 2016 at 20:31
  • Now if the reader is interested to get new idea, he will give more emphasis on the first one, and if interested on presentation he just focus on the second paper. Please note that in most cases (at least in my experience), peer reviewers try to confront the idea written in the paper especially when it is a double blind review. Oct 2, 2016 at 20:32

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