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This is a follow-up question to Open versus Blind reviewing process, and is somehow related to What happens to the reviews that people write for journal articles after they're sent back to the author?

However, my question does not concern the reviews I receive for the papers I submit, but concerns the reviews I write for papers I have been assigned. Since the whole process is done under confidentiality, it is not clear who owns the copyright on a review I wrote, and what does the review include.

For instance, let us assume that X is member of a PC of a conference Y, and assigns to me a review of a paper Z, written by A and B (assuming it's not a double-blind). Can I publish on my blog: "Here is my review for Y, asked by X, on the paper Z, written by A and B"?

I think that there are two points here:

  1. Is it legal? (for instance, publishing the camera-ready version of a paper might be illegal due to the copyright transfer, would it be also the care here?).
  2. Is it ethical? (who should I ask in order to do so? X? Y? A and B? everybody?).

EDIT: There is been several comments/answer wondering why I would like to publish a review I wrote. To give a bit of background of this question, I believe that the current reviewing system, created when the academic community was small and there was no Internet (i.e. no easy access to information), might not be the best, although clearly working. This is for me a very interesting debate, but somehow out of the scope the Q&A format of Academia SE, which is why I tried to focus on my question on whether it was possible to do so, not if it was the best thing to do in the current system (and just to be clear, I don't plan to do it, but I just like to know what are my options). Anyway, thanks for the answers bringing a different light on this debate.

EDIT 2: After seeing the update in Jeff's answer, I just realised that I didn't make it explicit that I was talking about reviews after the reviewing process. Jeff says that it's ok if the paper is accepted, and although I clearly understand the argument of why I shouldn't publish a review of a rejected paper, the question still holds: by publishing a review of a rejected paper, I publish the information that these authors submitted this paper to this conf/journal, which is supposed to be confidential between the authors and the editors. Would I break any rule by doing so?

1 Answer 1

Like elaborated by @ChrisSampson87 in another answer, I totally support the sharing of provided peer reviews after publication. I believe transparency can only add to speed and quality of scientific research, and most of the major flaws in peer review rely on the fact that it is kept secret behind curtains by most of the community. Likewise I am in favor of signing my reviews -- this is not always easy, and often leads to a backlash, which is halfway gone towards sharing it later.

When one signs a review and plans on sharing it later, immediately a greater sense of responsibility is created. There are websites allowing for this practice which implies that any member journals include editors who are OK with the practice, and authors submitting papers to those journals should be aware of the possibility of greater exposure after their publication.

Minor personal conflicts and egoistic feelings aside, I strongly believe bringing in more light to peer reviews, even of rejected papers, would do far greater good than damage to the working conditions of scientists everywhere.