- Anonymous reviewing is often unfair
- It contributes to publication bias
- It increases the likelihood of low quality or disrespectful reviews
- It is ethically questionable
- It contributes to an excessively high rejection rate
- It fuels suspicion towards colleagues
- It conveys a stereotype of scholars as not trustworthy and insincere
- It limits the benefits of the considerable work involved in reviewing papers
3. From an ethical point of view, being identifiable to the person(s) whose work one is judging (in ways that can be highly consequential for this person) is certainly preferable.
4. Reviewing papers is a relatively unrewarding task that academics do voluntarily in addition to their many other duties. Obviously, there is a risk that the quality of their reports may suffer from these many other responsibilities. Whether we like it or not, being accountable to the person whom we are judging increases the likelihood that our criticism will be cogent and well articulated but also that the tone of the review will be respectful. Traffic norms may be an appropriate analogy: When drivers are isolated in their cars, they dare to engage in behaviors they would never display if they were face to face with other drivers. I am not immune to this influence: Since I started signing my reviews, I am much more prudent before clicking on the "submit" button. Do I want my name to be associated with the prose I just produced?"
(Postscript: While this argument makes sense to my imperfect mind, an inspection of the evidence from few studies on this is relatively mixed. Some studies find a significant, but very small increase in quality for signed reviews, others find no effect at all)
Another counterargument is that signing reviews may have the opposite effect of encouraging reviewers to downplay their critiques and be more positive than they actually feel. I accept this argument but my intuition is that signing reviews will mostly affect the tone of the review, and possibly the recommendation, rather than its substance, which should matter most to the editor. The study I just mentioned confirms this as well.
Undoubtedly, there are cases in which dissimulating one's identity as a reviewer may be perfectly legitimate because the reviewer can truly expect his or her judgment to be biased by self-interest. So, in the future, I may not sign all of my reviews. Yet, in my experience, these cases represent only a tiny minority. I haven't encountered any since I started signing (but you can't trust introspection, can you?). And, as I have suggested, anonymous reviews are also biased by the reviewer's self-interest in ways that are much more perverse.