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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Few authors choose anonymous peer review, massive study of Nature journals shows – Science (Martin Enserink | September 2017)

Published/Released on September 22, 2017 | Posted by Admin on January 21, 2018 / , , , ,
 


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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS—Once you’ve submitted your paper to a journal, how important is it that the reviewers know who wrote it?

The reported research points to academics having a counter-intuitive attitude to blinding in peer review. An interesting question for subversive data nerds is whether the respondents to the survey belong to the demographic who benefit from the bias.

Surveys have suggested that many researchers would prefer anonymity because they think it would result in a more impartial assessment of their manuscript. But a new study by the Nature Publishing Group (NPG) in London shows that only one in eight authors actually chose to have their reviewers blinded when given the option. The study, presented here at the Eighth International Congress on Peer Review, also found that papers submitted for double-blind review are far less likely to be accepted.
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Most papers are reviewed in single-blind fashion—that is, the reviewers know who the authors are, but not vice versa. In theory, that knowledge allows them to exercise a conscious or unconscious bias against researchers from certain countries, ethnic minorities, or women, and be kinder to people who are already well-known in their field. Double-blind reviews, the argument goes, would remove those prejudices. A 2007 study of Behavioral Ecology found that the journal published more articles by female authors when using double-blind reviews—although that conclusion was challenged by other researchers a year later. In a survey of more than 4000 researchers published in 2013, three-quarters said they thought double-blind review is “the most effective method.”
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