D.J. McPhee
20 November 2023
Posted inPeer Review Post authorD.J. McPhee

Different Types of Peer Review

There are many different types of peer review. And choosing what kind of peer review you should have for your journal is important. Different types of peer review accomplish different things, and in some cases, the degree of transparency is very important. Some journals benefit from having “open peer review” but others benefit more from a “double blind” system.

What are the differences?

In this article we’ll go over some of the more common peer review types and why they matter.

Single-blind peer review

What is commonly described as peer review is more accurately described as “single-blind peer review”. In this kind of review, the author of the paper does not know the identity of the reviewers. This has obvious benefits to protect the identity of the reviewer (if the author of the manuscript disagrees with them), but also carries a bit of risk of bias.

While cases of bias in peer review can be quite rare, it is not impossible to imagine a situation where the reviewer knows and does not like the author and takes steps to reject that authors work.

While this could conceivably happen, the way in which many companies undertake peer review often has guardrails to ensure that no single review can, on its own, prevent publication of valid research.

To learn more about peer review in general, we encourage you to read our article on the subject.

Double-blind peer review

The double-blind system is the most neutral of the peer review systems. In this system, both the author and the reviewers do not know who the other parties are. Unlike single-blind peer review, this creates a greater degree of anonymity.

In these reviews, the peer reviewers have no information about who the authors of a paper are, and the authors don’t know who the reviewers are. To accomplish this, all markers of identity (affiliations, names, positions, etc.) are removed.

Triple-blind peer review

Triple-blind review is a bit more rare than the aforementioned two. In this case, the editors also do not know who is doing the reviews. This system is the most complicated one, but is likely the most rigorous as it allows all parties to have an equal weight in the discussion. This makes it the most likely to have the best results but the most challenging to manage logistically.

Open peer review

This tends to be more of an umbrella term, with several variations included.

Generally, it is a very transparent system. In one version, peer reviewers comments are published along with the final manuscript so that the reader can be aware of what the peer reviewers noted about the work, and also what the authors did to address them (or not).

Increasingly, this system is being used by many journals. There are different variations of open reviews, and different journals may use slightly different iterations. And some companies implement versions of open peer review across their entire portfolios. We will go into more detail about the open peer review processes in the future.

Questions of bias could be spotted by a reader, and so extra care needs to be taken to ensure that the peer review process maintains its rigorous standards. Many people will claim that a single blind or double blind system is better to ensure results. On the other hand, some people will claim the opposite is true.

Post-publication peer review

The final peer review system that we’ll go over in this article (though not the last example) is the post-publication peer review system. Here, authors will get their manuscript/research peer reviewed after they submit their work to a journal for publication and it is published.

This is a useful system as it allows the journal to publish work more quickly. The problem with this type of review lies in the fact that the information can be disseminated widely, but also be inaccurate or incomplete. The post-publication review process is something that encourages good faith collaboration, and can create a strong foundation to tackle important issues quickly.


Importantly, for a journal, this can help to increase the speed of publication. Because there is an every-increasing need for more information, more quickly, this can be a powerful tool in the publication process.

Different types of review and reviewers

There is an important thing to consider when you’re selecting peer review types. How will the type of peer review affect my reviewers.

Finding good peer reviewers is critical to getting a manuscript published. Importantly, you should make sure that you are making every effort to accommodate the reviewers. Listen to any feedback that you can get on how your reviewers feel about the different peer review systems. In particular, open peer review might not be a system that all reviewers will agree to use—as with all things, this is generally on a case-by-case basis. One way that you can make life easier for a reviewer, is to provide them with a peer review report template. This can help them to write their peer review reports.

Be careful in selecting the type of peer review you’re going to implement for your journal.

How do you choose?

Importantly, what you choose depends on the amount of transparency that you think is important. Keep in mind that each of these different systems have different degrees of clarity. They all also have different degrees of difficulties to implement. Some issues might be about costs and some might be about time.

It’s important for you to carefully understand what the industry expectations are, and what you can manage well. If you need help to create a more efficient pipeline for your review processes, let JAMS help you with that. We’re happy to go over the different ways that JAMS can help your journal to be successful.

D.J. McPhee
20 November 2023
Posted inPeer Review
Post author D.J. McPhee
Writing a Peer Review Report
Creating a Peer Review Pipeline
Choosing Good Peer Reviewers
What is Peer Review?
Why is Peer Review Important?