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Double-Anonymized Peer Review Pilot

The Journal of Bacteriology is piloting a double-anonymized peer review process to support fair and unbiased evaluation of submitted manuscripts. Double-anonymized peer review is when the reviewers do not know the author’s identity and the authors do not know the reviewer’s identity. Authors can choose whether their manuscript will follow the single-anonymized peer review process (formerly called single-blind peer review) or the double-anonymized peer review process (formerly called double-blind peer review). To facilitate this process, we rely on authors to anonymize their submissions carefully to prevent reviewers from identifying them or their institutions. For authors who want to choose double-anonymized peer review, we’ve outlined how this will work and steps to take to anonymize submitted files.

Double-Anonymized Peer Review Process Infographic

see link labeled peer review options for text explanation of double-anonymized peer review process

What Information Reviewers Have Access to on the Submission Form

Reviewers will not be able to see the identifying information you enter in required fields in the submission system. This includes the following:

  • Author names and their institutions.
  • Funders.
  • Grant numbers.

Do Preprint Services Affect Anonymization?

You may deposit your paper in a preprint server before submission, or deposit papers in bioRxiv upon initial submission via the submission form. Depositing a paper in a preprint server will make your identity publicly findable. Once papers are submitted to bioRxiv, they may not be removed from that site. Review the bioRxiv FAQ for more information.

Anonymizing Your Manuscript

When submitting your manuscript, please ensure that any potentially sensitive or identifying information has been appropriately anonymized. We do not review submitted manuscript files for anonymization. Please review your manuscript before submitting, as we also do not edit manuscripts before they are sent out for review (any included author information in your manuscript will be visible to reviewers).

You may want to create two files: your original manuscript and your anonymized manuscript. You will only submit your anonymized manuscript and the separate title page. At the proof stage, you will have the opportunity to de-anonymize your article.

Anonymizing Your Manuscript Files

Move the following to a separate "Title page" file that will not be visible to reviewers:

  • Title
  • Author byline
  • Affiliations
  • Corresponding author contact information
  • Acknowledgments
  • Data Availability section

There are many places in your manuscript that might give away identifying information. Check the following:

  • Body text (Introduction, Results, Discussion, Materials, and Methods).
  • References.
  • Tables.
  • Figures and figure legends.
  • Supplemental data/materials.
  • Names or other identifying information in video file names.

Anonymization Tips

  • Avoid non-English-language text (for example, on a figure).
  • Use "anonymous" as a placeholder name, for example, in citing an unpublished work or thesis by an author.
  • Avoid or minimize self-citation by replacing statements such as "in our previous study (11), we showed that" with "it has been shown previously (11) that" or "as previously shown (11)." If referring to self-cited work in the first person is unavoidable, replace the author names, or other identifying information (such as your institution), with "author(s)" in the text. In the reference list, replace the citation with a placeholder "author(s)."
  • Omit conflict of interest statements. These will be captured on the submission form, where they will not be visible to reviewers.
  • Upload data as a miscellaneous file for the reviewers.
  • Omit a title page in your supplemental materials.