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Reviewers More Likely to Accept Single-Blind Manuscripts

Reviewers more likely to recommend acceptance when prestigious names and institutions were visible

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Reviewers are more likely to accept manuscripts when author names and institutions are visible, even in the presence of errors in the manuscript, according to a study published in the Sept. 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Kanu Okike, M.D., M.P.H., from Kaiser Moanalua Medical Center in Honolulu, and colleagues conducted a study at Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, a journal that allows authors to select single-blind or double-blind peer review. Reviewers were randomized to receive single-blind or double-blind versions of a fabricated manuscript, which was putatively written by two past presidents of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons from prominent institutions, and which included five subtle errors. A total of 119 reviewers completed the review of the manuscript (46 percent).

The researchers observed no significant differences between the single-blind and double-blind groups in sex, nationality, prior reviews completed, or mean time to review completion (all P > 0.05). When the prestigious authors’ names and institutions were visible (single-blind review), the reviewers were more likely to recommend acceptance than when the names and institutions were redacted (double-blind review) (87 versus 68 percent; multivariable relative risk, 1.28). Reviewers also gave higher ratings for the methods and other categories in single-blind review. The number of errors detected did not differ.

“Although one study found double-blind reviews to be of higher quality, others detected no differences,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the medical device industry.

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