Reviewer bias in single – versus double-blind peer review

by Andrew Tomkinsa, Min Zhang, and William D. Heavlin
PNAS Early Edition, November 2017

6 pp. 672 kB

Scientific peer review has been a cornerstone of the scientific method since the 1600s. Debate continues regarding the merits of single-blind review, in which anonymous reviewers know the authors of a paper and their affiliations, compared with double-blind review, in which this information is hidden. The authors present an experimental study of this question. Each submission is simultaneously scored by two single-blind and two double-blind reviewers. Their analysis shows that single-blind reviewing confers a significant advantage to papers with famous authors and authors from high-prestige institutions.

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