To help you understand what the transition to double-anonymous (also known as double-blind) means for you we’ve collaborated some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Why are IOP publishing making their journals double-anonymous and why has the journal I’m submitting to changed to double-anonymous already?
The move is part of our dedication to tackle the significant gender, racial and geographical under-representation in the scholarly publishing process. Double-anonymous peer review, where the reviewer and author identities are concealed, has the potential to reduce bias with respect to gender, race, country of origin or affiliation which should lead to a more equitable system.
You can see more information about the move to double-anonymous here.
All of our peer review managed journals will transition to a double-anonymous peer review by the end of 2021. We’ll be transitioning journals over in stages so some journals have/will transition sooner than others.
What is double-anonymous peer review and what does that mean for authors and reviewers?
Double-anonymous peer review is where both authors and reviewers are anonymous to each other. Authors will need to anonymise their manuscript before submitting their paper and therefore reviewers will not be aware of a manuscripts author when carrying out peer review.
Is double-anonymous peer review compatible with the sharing of preprints?
We support the early sharing of research results via preprint servers such as arXiv and other early sharing platforms. This does mean that author identities may be easier to find online if reviewers try to find them. We ask our reviewers to undertake an objective review of an article and when agreeing to a double-anonymous review we trust that they will not go out of their way to undermine author anonymity.
When will the journals change to double-anonymous peer review?
All our peer review managed journals will transition to double-anonymous by the end of 2021. We will communicate on the homepage for a journal 2 weeks before it transitions to double-anonymous.
You can see which journals have already transitioned on our peer review models page.
How do I know whether the journal I’m submitting to is double-anonymous?
Visit our peer review models page which details the peer review models for all of our journals. You can also see the peer review model for the journal you’re submitting to on it’s “About a journal” page.
How do I prepare my manuscript for double-anonymous peer review?
Please follow the guidelines below when preparing your manuscript for double-anonymous:
- Remove all author names, affiliations and pictures of authors from the manuscript PDF ‘Complete Document for Review’ file.
- Remove direct reference to your previous publications in the reference list. We advise that all citations are displayed in full to allow reviewers and editors to fully evaluate your work. However, when writing the in-text reference or when referring to your own unpublished or thesis work in references, we suggest authors avoid phrases such as ‘we have previously shown (reference)‘. Instead use ‘as previously shown (reference)‘.
- Remove institutions or funding information in the funding/ethics/acknowledgement sections from the PDF. Funding and ethics statements can be added to the submission form. All funding/ethics/acknowledgement sections can be added to the non-anonymised source file that will be requested at revision.
- Use our anonymising your manuscript checklist to help you.
Do I still need to upload a separate title page?
Can I still choose single-anonymous peer review?
All of our journals will be transitioning to double-anonymous but if you choose to submit single-anonymous then it is at your own discretion. We will not reject a submission on the basis that you have included author information. If you include author details on the manuscript, we will process the submission via single-anonymous peer review.
Which files need to be anonymous and which ones need or should include author information?
Please see the list below for a breakdown on what files need to be anonymous and which should contain author information:
- The PDF ‘Complete Document for Review’ version of your manuscript needs to be kept anonymous both at the new submission and revision stages. Please upload a fully anonymised PDF document with no author information or acknowledgments that may reveal author identities.
- When submitting a revision, please keep your Author response to reviewers anonymous by removing all author information and not linking to previous papers or work that may reveal your identity.
At revision we will request the latest set of source files, which should not be anonymous. This should be a complete version of your revised manuscript that includes all author names, affiliations, acknowledgements, funding information and ethical statements.
- When acting as a reviewer on another author’s submission, please keep all Reviewer reports anonymous by not signing your name.
For more information on anonymising a manuscript for submission, please see the anonymising your manuscript checklist.
My funding source / ethical statement will give away my identity. Should I still declare this?
Please remove institutions or funding information in the funding/ethics/acknowledgement sections from the PDF. Funding and ethics statements can be added to the submission form. All funding/ethics/acknowledgement sections can be added back to the manuscript source files, which will be requested at revision.
What further help and resources are available?
As stated, you’ll need to anonymise your manuscript if you’re submitting to a journal with a double-anonymous peer review model. A checklist is available to help you to do this and is also available in Chinese.
Although it’s not necessary to use an article template for submissions to our peer review manged titles, we’ve created a Microsoft word article template to help authors anonymise their manuscript with help and guidance.
How should I review a double-anonymous manuscript?
We ask that you review the manuscript as we hope you would have done before, only considering the content of the manuscript and not be influenced by who the authors are in anyway (whether positively or negatively). Please do not purposefully seek out the authors identity (from pre-print sites or other sources).
If author details are included please know that this was the authors choice to have their manuscript reviewed as single-anonymous.
What happens if I need to know the author(s) names to see their previous work to help me assess the paper?
If you’re looking to see if authors have published on this topic before we advise that you search for the topic, rather than the authors. After all, work can incrementally build based on other’s work as well an author’s own. If incremental work is suspected, reviewers should note this in their review and the editorial team at IOPP will investigate. If you feel the context of the work is not clearly explained you should detail this in your review.
All submissions will continue to go through plagiarism checking software at submission.
What should I do if I suspect I might have a conflict of interest?
You may suspect you have a conflict of interest but can’t be sure, because you can’t see who the authors are. If that’s the case, please contact the journal and explain, and they will be able to look into it for you and advise.
Why can’t I see the ethical statements for papers anymore?
Ethical statements are now hidden from reviewers as they can often reveal clues to aspects of the authors identity (institution or country for example). Our editorial staff do have access to these statements and assess them for suitability as part of our standard editorial checks at submission. If you believe you need to see the ethical statement, please contact the journal who will assess whether this is appropriate and act accordingly.