Nature Communications offers the option to publish the reviewer reports and author rebuttal letters for published papers submitted from January 2016 onwards. Authors are asked to opt in to this scheme upon acceptance of the paper. The anonymity of reviewers is maintained, unless they sign their reports to the authors.
Goals and intentions
Our intention is to open up the peer review process at the journal, and to provide information on the expert reports that led to our editorial decision to publish a paper. Moreover, the reviewer reports also can serve as a background on the merits of a study, and inform about the discussion between authors and our reviewers.
Rate at which authors are opting in to the publication of the peer review files; author opt-in rate across different research areas.
On average, around 60% of our authors are voluntarily opting in to publishing the peer review history of their paper. We believe that this is a very encouraging result, given also the diversity of our content across so many research areas. Looking at the data for different research fields, not surprisingly, there is some variation. In areas where more open peer review is commonplace and reviewers often sign their reports by name, author opt-in is particularly strong. Other areas may not necessarily be that familiar with publishing reviewer reports, and might therefore still be hesitant to do so. However, in almost all research areas the majority of papers that we publish will now contain a peer review file.