Comments to my earlier post, "Universal Open Review?", indicate that a major sticking point is protecting junior scientists from retribution by senior scientists. This seems to be the central concern of many. So, we need to find a middle ground. Here's an idea. Let's call it 'TRUE-PEER review'. Clearly, many scientists do not feel that a senior scientist is truly a peer of a junior scientist given that there is potentially a tremendous imbalance of power. So, what if reviewers of junior scientists were ONLY junior scientists? True peers. Just as a 'jury of one's peers' was originally intended to be. (Not that it is now... but we're returning to fundamental principle here...)
Editors are generally more-senior scientists (mid to late career) and typically have no problem signing decision letters. Such scientists always say they already have enough work to do, and we could also tell them they have enough power already, so why not simply exclude them from reviewing more junior scientists' manuscripts, proposals, and promotions?
What if all reviewers were true peers? Reviewers with the same concerns, at same career stage, as the author/grant proposal/promotion candidate is. That would seem to turn the tables and force more senior ('non-peer') scientists to act only as editors, program managers, and administrators on manuscripts, proposals and promotions of more junior scientists, and to force their decisions to be based ONLY on true-peer reviews. In that case, would more scientists support open review, i.e., non-anonymous review?
I can imagine some of the objections to excluding reviews from senior non-peers. But are such objections sufficient to override the inherent fairness of 'True-Peer' review? In the interest of fairness might it not more ethical to base career-making and career-breaking decisions on true-peer reviews?