Some journals, such as many of the EGU Copernicus publications, publish the initial manuscript and the (anonymous) peer reviews and author replies along with the full manuscript. When reviewing for such a journal, should I review any differently than when I write a review for a classical journal where only the editor and authors should be expected to ever see the review?

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    You should always write a review in a way that you wouldn't mind if it was published. Be thorough, fair and constructive regardless who can read the review.
    – user9482
    Apr 20, 2017 at 18:04

2 Answers 2


In theory we should be as thoughtful and careful regardless. In practice I found that I paid more attention to correct spelling and formatting for reviews I knew were going to be available online. I think the real benefit of publishing the reviews is avoiding the senselessly mean reviews and promote a more mature academic style.


One possible factor: the audience for your referee reports will be wider, which means people with less background may read them. When I write referee reports, it is often from one expert to another -- so it would be easy to say, for instance, "As you know, Fact X is true..." without a citation. This might be a bad habit in regular refereeing, but if the reports are public, it's worth being a bit more careful on that.

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    I'm sure I've written comments in referee reports with the specific author or editor in mind. Even when I don't know them personally, I frequently know what they know and how they think based on the other papers they've written. Sometimes the specific advice doesn't have to do with the author personally but their situation; I might recommend that the author consult a particular expert X on an issue partly because X is at an institution geographically close to the author. Apr 20, 2017 at 20:38

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