Peer review takes many forms. Here are a few of the most common models. | Peer Review In all its many shapes and sizes
PLOS Peer Review Toolkit
Peer Review in its Many Forms
We tend to think of peer review as a monolith, but in fact peer review takes many forms. Here are a few of the most common models you may be asked to participate in during your career.
One can state, without exaggeration, that the observation of and the search for similarities and differences are the basis of all human knowledge. - Alfred Nobel
Types of Peer Review
Single blind: Reviewers know the authors’ identities, but reviewer names are protected.

Double-blind: Reviewer and author names are protected.
Reviewers sign their comments.
Authors receive reviewer names in the decision letter.
Reviewers collaborate and submit joint comments, or in some cases confer with authors and editors during the review process.
Reviews are sought by an organisation or journal and shared with any journals that require them later on.
Reviewer comments and/or names are published with the article.
After a manuscript is posted the community reviews the research in an open forum. Reviewer names are usually published with their comments.
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Keep in mind that these formats are often combined. For example, a review process might be single-blind by default, but still offer you the option to sign your review, and transfer the reviewer history to another journal.
Combined types
So, why are there so many types of peer review—and which one is best?
There’s no simple answer; each type of peer review has its strengths and weaknesses. Take a look at the research below, and see what you think. Share your ideas with us for a chance to win one of 5 PLOS t-shirts.
Want to read more about innovations in peer review?
Peer Review Quality and Transparency of the Peer-Review Process in Open Access and Subscription Journals  Wicherts, JM.
Check out this 14-item tool to assess transparency of the peer review process at an unfamiliar journal to indicate the quality of their peer review process.
What is open peer review? A systematic review Ross-Hellauer, T.
Explore the meaning of open peer review with this detailed review. Short on time? Take a look at Figure 5 and ‘Which problems with traditional peer review do the various OPR traits address?’
Cooperation between Referees and Authors Increases Peer Review Accuracy Leek, JT, Taub, MA, Pineda, FJ.
This research article explores the effect of openness on peer review quality, using ‘The Peer Review Game,’ an experimental model developed by the authors.
Power to the Preprint
Ready to practice your peer review skills? Join PLOS and PREreview for an online preprint journal club meeting this #OAweek2018. Register now.
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