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Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association

February 2012, Volume 4 Number 1 , p 64 - 67


  • Fiona Lovegrove


Alam, M., Kim, N. A., Havey, J., Rademaker, A., Ratner, D., Tregre, B., et al. (2011). Blinded vs. unblinded peer review of manuscripts submitted to a dermatology journal: A randomized multi-rater study. British Journal of Dermatology, 165(3), 563-567.Peer review of scientific articles has long been held as the standard process through which articles are rigorously examined prior to publication and is viewed as a mark of quality. However, limited studies have examined the process, and more recently, the integrity of peer review has been subject to increased scrutiny. One of the central issues of debate is that of blinding reviewers and authors. With the exception of very few scientific journals, both the reviewers' and the authors' identities are removed from the submission to avoid bias. Reviewer biases either in favor of or against authors and their work could arguably affect acceptance of an article. Attempts to make authors anonymous may alleviate the effects of such bias; however, total anonymity is difficult to attain because authors often have a known area of expertise, personal style, and tendency to cite their own publications. Therefore, the question presents itself: Do authors and reviewers actually need to be blinded?In this article, the authors compared the outcomes of blinded and unblinded reviews of 40 manuscripts submitted to the journal Dermatologic Surgery. Twenty regular reviewers from the journal were randomly assigned to review consecutively submitted manuscripts. Each manuscript had two blinded and two unblinded reviews. "Blinded" was defined as having all author names and identifying material as well as the bibliography removed from the manuscript, whereas "unblinded" manuscripts were reviewed exactly as they had been submitted. The primary outcome measure was whether the article was accepted, accepted with revisions, or rejected. As well, subgroup analysis compared foreign (non-U.S.) to U.S. authored manuscripts. The secondary outcome measure

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