Acceptance of Single-Blind vs Double-Blind Manuscripts

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Reviewers were more likely to accept single-blind manuscripts.
Reviewers were more likely to accept single-blind manuscripts.

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 JAMA.

Kanu Okike, MD, MPH, 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 (Testing for the Presence of Authorship Bias in Peer Review; ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02739737). Reviewers were randomly assigned to receive single-blind or double-blind versions of a fabricated manuscript, which was putatively written by 2 past presidents of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons from prominent institutions, and which included 5 subtle errors. A total of 119 reviewers completed the review of the manuscript (46%).

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 >.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% vs 68%; 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 researchers wrote.

Disclosures: Several researchers disclosed relationships with one or more of the following: Depuy, Fixes 4 Kids, Pivot Medical, OrthoPediatrics, Ossur, Saunders/Mosby-Elsevier, Smith & Nephew, Stryker, Synthes, and Zimmer. Dr Leopold also reports serving as editor-in-chief of Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research (CORR).

Reference

  1. Okike K, Hug KT, Kocher MS, Leopold SS. Single-blind vs double-blind peer review in the setting of author prestige. JAMA. 2016;316(12):1315-1316. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.11014.
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