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I recently reviewed a paper for a math journals. I recommended to reject the paper but my decision was overridden because of two other positive reviews. Is it a common practice to ask to see the other reviews ?

I am curious about what the other reviewers thought of the paper. I am not going to fight about the paper acceptance or anything, I am just being curious.

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    On some journals, the option to see the other reviewers' reports is present in the interface, but it is not easy to find. For instance, on a journal based on Elsevier editorial system (EES) you can log in, go to "completed assignments" and click on "view decision letter". Jun 11, 2015 at 16:50
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    I have asked the handling editor if I could see reviews from other reviewers in the past, and have gotten positive responses, so it's definitely doable. Jun 12, 2015 at 8:42
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    So, I followed your advices and politely asked the assistant editor to see the other reviews, explaining why I was interested in them and promising confidentiality. I received one of the two other reviews, the second one being too short to be worth forwarded. Thank you all for your advices ! (And, between us, I am not really closer to understanding why the paper got accepted...)
    – vib
    Jun 15, 2015 at 9:02
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    The previous comment was intended as an answer to my own question and I still believe it qualified as such -- or at least, it isn't blatantly not an answer -- but it got deleted by a moderator and replaced by a comment. The only reason why I am not deleting this whole question is out of respect for the people that kindly answered it, but I feel some people here should give it a break trying to enforce regulations blindly on irrelevant things. As a newcomer to this particular stackexchange platform, this clearly dissuades me from asking other questions here.
    – vib
    Jun 15, 2015 at 11:34

2 Answers 2

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I'm writing this in my role as an editor: if I had assigned a younger colleague as a reviewer, and said colleague asked me for the other reviews because they want to learn what others see in a paper, I would usually be happy to forward them to her. Everyone wins if we help younger researchers find their bearings what is or is not expected in a review.

That said, there must be an understanding that the other reviews I forward will remain confidential and will not be distributed further. I imagine if you write to the editor who had assigned the paper to you, ask for the other reviews and explain why you'd like to see them, and promise confidentiality, then you may be able to get them.

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Some journals have a policy to make all reviews available to all parties involved (Referees and Authors), so the practice is not uncommon.

Some journals have a policy to not make the reviews available to all Referees. In this case I think to request it of a curiosity is quite unorthodox. The decision to accept / reject the paper is made by the Editor, who consults the Referees for their expertise in a particular area. As a Referee, I would expect my opinion to be heard by the Editor, but other than that, I do not assume the Editor to be obliged to make a decision I recommend and/or to explain the decision to me.

Some (smaller) journals do not have a policy re this question. In this case you could try to very politely ask about it. Politeness is a key.

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    If you ask the editor directly, the request may sound a little more sinister than if you ask the editor to pass on the request to the other reviewers (if the editor feels this is acceptable). This might make it more clear that you are leaving it up to the reviewers as to whether they want to share or not.
    – MJeffryes
    Jun 11, 2015 at 12:42

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