If you have received a manuscript decision letter in the last month or so, then perhaps you have noticed the small augmentation in the information conveyed to you in this email. Specifically, along with the “formal review for authors” text or attachment, we are now including in the answers to the questions that we ask of the reviewers. A few months ago, AGU revised the review submission form to include a few specific questions for the referee to answer about the manuscript. I wrote about them here. The answers must be selected from a pull-down menu, each with 3 to 5 choices. These are supposed to force the referee to think about these aspects of the paper and be a starting place for the details in the report.
AGU is now including the answers to these questions in the decision letters, including for JGR Space Physics. Here is an example of what it will look like in the email:
After this would be the “normal” review text or attachment with which you are familiar.
Yes, that very first answer being revealed is the recommendation of the reviewer. Now you can see when I follow, or don’t, the reviewer’s suggestion.
Since we are asking referees to answer these questions and they are part of our decision-making process, it is appropriate for us to share it with the authors so that they can take this information into account. I guess there could be instances where I delete it but I really can’t foresee the circumstances when I might need to do that. These answers are part of the formal review process and, in general, should be shared with the authors.
So, authors, please look through these Q&A sections of the report and address these items as well as the points in the formal review.
Reviewers: please take note that these answers will be shared with the authors, and try to mention them in your formal review.