Manuscript Blind Review: An Overview of Our Process and Suggestions for Authors (Editorial)

When I was a doctoral student I remember asking one of my professors if editorial board members really were not aware of the identity of the authors of the manuscripts they reviewed. I was certain that there must be some bias toward well-known authors because I kept seeing the same names over and over as I explored the counseling literature. I believe his response to my question was that although reviewers probably don’t always know for sure, often they can figure it out. It made sense; a purely blind review process is probably unrealistic even when an author removes his or her name and institutional affiliation from the manuscript. For example, Tardy and Matsuda (2009) found that many editorial board reviewers believed they could identify an author simply based on the manuscript topic or the author’s writing style. Nevertheless, I believe that authors should try to mask their identities. Klein (2001) believed that the quality of the work should be what matters to reviewers rather than the author’s identity, yet Tardy and Matsuda found that nearly all of the editorial reviewers they surveyed indicated at least once having tried to figure out an author’s identity. The integrity of the peer review process relies on the anonymity of the author and his or her affiliation (Houlihan, Hofschultz, Sachau, & Patten, 1992). That is, the potential for reviewers to knowingly or unknowingly be biased about a particular author cannot be overlooked (Yankauer, 1991). In his review of literature related to blind review, Snodgrass (2007) reported finding studies that showed reviewer bias toward prolific authors and those from prestigious universities as well as bias against women and authors from lesser-known institutions.

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