Anonymity for peer reviewers remains the overwhelming norm within biomedical
journals. While acknowledging that open review is not without challenges,
this article presents 4 key arguments in its favor: (1) ethical superiority,
(2) lack of important adverse effects, (3) feasibility in practice, and (4)
potential to balance greater accountability for reviewers with credit for
the work they do. Barriers to more widespread use of open review include conservatism
within the research community and the fact that openness makes editors publicly
responsible for their choice of reviewers and their interpretation of reviewers'
comments. Forces for change include the growing use of preprint servers combined
with open commentary. I look forward to a time when open commentary and review
replace the current, flawed system of closed prepublication peer review and
its false reassurances about the reliability of what is published.
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