Biology Letters and Proceedings A have now introduced optional Transparent Peer Review. We discuss what this means for our authors, reviewers and readers.

Magnifying glass on paper

Biology Letters has now rolled out optional Web of Science Transparent Peer Review (TPR) (previously branded as Publons) and Proceedings A has switched its existing optional open peer review to optional Web of Science TPR for manuscripts submitted from 13th June 2022. This is done by making the reviewer reports, decision letters and associated author responses accessible alongside published articles. By doing so, we have followed the steps already taken by some of our sister-journals and other publishers in making the peer review process more open. 

As this is currently optional, authors are asked at the point of submission whether they would like to opt for TPR. After that the main scenarios are as follows:

  • Author asks for TPR and the reviewer opts to disclose name
  • Peer review report is published alongside published manuscript including reviewer’s name.

  • Author asks for TPR, but the reviewer does not agree to disclose name
  • Peer review report published with accepted papers, but referee remains anonymous

  • Author doesn’t ask to have TPR, but the reviewer opts to disclose name
  • Reviewer name only disclosed to author (no publication of peer review report)

  • Neither author nor reviewer want TPR
  • Traditional half-blind peer review takes place

    The reviewer reports will appear on Web of Science Transparent Peer Review Service and are made public under an open access licence (CC-BY). At all points in the peer review process we encourage referees to waive their traditional right to anonymity and sign their reports, thereby disclosing their name to the author. However, this will remain voluntary and anonymity will be strictly maintained if requested. By signing reports though, reviewers can claim credit for the effort put into reviewing a manuscript. Publishing the reviewer reports and decision letters alongside an article should also allow the history of a paper to be understood – from what was recommended, what was included in the final paper, and the authors reasons for revising their study in a certain way – therefore providing more context for readers. This can also be used as a useful teaching resource for any other researchers looking to publish their work.

    Our aim is to continue the progress made in making science more open to all, whether this is through open access, open data or open peer review. As this is currently optional on both journals, please contact the Biology Letters editorial office or the Proceedings A editorial office with any queries that you may have.

    Image credit: 


  • Publishing Team

    Publishing Team