The following research article was recently posted on arXiv.
The Alan Turing Institute & University of Cambridge
Elisa De Ranieri
February 6, 2018
Background Double-blind peer review has been proposed as a possible solution to avoid implicit referee bias in academic publishing. The aims of this study are to analyse the demographics of corresponding authors choosing double blind peer review, and to identify differences in the editorial outcome of manuscripts depending on their review model.
Methods Data includes 128,454 manuscripts received between March 2015 and February 2017 by 25 Nature-branded journals. We investigated the uptake of double blind review in relation to journal 2 tier and gender, country, and institutional prestige of the corresponding author. We then studied the manuscripts’ editorial outcome in relation to review model and author’s characteristics. The gender (male, female or NA) of the corresponding authors was determined from their first name using a third-party service (Gender API). The prestige of corresponding author’s institutions was measured by using the Global Research Identifier Database (GRID) and dividing institutions in three prestige groups using the 2016 Times Higher Education (THE) ranking. We used descriptive statistics for data exploration and we tested our hypotheses using Pearson’s chisquare and binomial tests.
Results Author uptake for double-blind was 12%. We found a small but significant association between journal tier and review type. We had gender information for 50,533 corresponding authors, and found no statistically significant difference in the distribution of peer review model between males and females. We had 58,920 records with normalized institutions and a THE rank, and we found that corresponding authors from the less prestigious institutions are more likely to choose double-blind review. In the ten countries with the highest number of submissions, we found a small but significant association between country and review type. The outcome at both first decision and post review is significantly more negative (i.e. a higher likelihood for rejection) for double than single-blind papers. Conclusions Authors choose double-blind review more frequently when they submit to more prestigious journals, they are affiliated with less prestigious institutions or they are from specific countries; the double-blind option is also linked to less successful editorial outcomes.
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