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Blinded versus Unblinded Peer Review of Manuscripts Submitted to a Dermatology Journal: A Randomized Multi-Rater Study.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21623749     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Background:  Submissions to medical and scientific journals are vetted by peer review, but peer review itself has been poorly studied until recently. One concern has been that manuscript reviews in which the reviewer is unblinded (e.g., knows author identity) may be biased, with an increased likelihood that the evaluation will not be strictly on scientific merits. Objectives:  The purpose of this study was to compare the outcomes of blinded and unblinded reviews of manuscripts submitted to a single dermatology journal via a randomized multi-rater study. Patients/Methods:  Forty manuscripts submitted to the journal Dermatologic Surgery were assessed by 4 reviewers, 2 of whom were randomly selected to be blinded and 2 unblinded regarding the identities of the manuscripts' authors. The primary outcome measure was the initial score assigned to each manuscript by each reviewer characterized on an ordinal scale of 1-3, with 1 = accept; 2 = revise (i.e., minor or major revisions) and 3 = reject. Subgroup analysis compared the primary outcome measure across manuscripts from US corresponding authors and foreign corresponding authors. The secondary outcome measure was word length of the narrative portion (i.e., comments to editor and comments to authors) of the reviewer forms. Results:  There was no significant difference between the scores given to manuscripts by unblinded reviewers and blinded reviewers, both for manuscripts from the US and for foreign submissions. There was also no difference in word length between unblinded and blinded reviews. Conclusions:  It appears, that at least in the case of one dermatology journal, blinding during peer review does not appear to affect the disposition of the manuscript. To the extent that review word length is a proxy for review quality, there appears to be no quality difference associated with blinding.
Authors:
M Alam; N A Kim; J Havey; A Rademaker; D Ratner; B Tregre; D P West; W P Coleman Iii
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2011-5-28
Journal Detail:
Title:  The British journal of dermatology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1365-2133     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2011 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-5-31     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0004041     Medline TA:  Br J Dermatol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2011 British Association of Dermatologists.
Affiliation:
Department of Dermatology Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Surgery Preventive Medicine Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL; Department of Dermatology, Columbia University, New York, NY Dermatologic Surgery, Metairie, LA Departments of Dermatology Surgery (Plastic), Tulane University, New Orleans, LA.
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