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A question I have been wondering for a while is if there exists an actual proof that a blind reviewing process (i.e. where the reviewers are anonymous, and the reviews not published) is better than an open one (i.e. where the reviewers are not anonymous and/or the reviews are published along with the accepted papers).

Basically, whenever I question the fact that having a blind reviewing process does not guarantee any quality (which, somehow, usually coincides with receiving a poor review for a paper ...), I'm told that anonymity is crucial for the reviewing process. But is there any proof of that? I don't believe there exists any perfect system, but I'm just not sure why does the blind (or even double-blind) one is considered as the best (or the "least worst").

1 Answer 1

The 2008 study entitled Peer Review in Scholarly Journals - Perspective of the Scholarly Community: An International Study aimed "to measure the attitudes and behaviour of the academic community with regard to peer review." Some quotes from the summary:

Double-blind review was preferred. Although the normal experience of researchers in most fields was of single-blind review, when asked which was their preferred option, there was a preference for double-blind review, with 56% selecting this, followed by 25% for single-blind, 13% for open and 5% for post-publication review. Open peer review was an active discouragement for many reviewers, with 49% saying that disclosing their name to the author would make them less likely to review.

and

Double-blind review was seen as the most effective. Double-blind review had the most respondents (71%) who perceived it to be effective, followed (in declining order) by single-blind (52%), post-publication (37%) and open peer review (27%).

A 2008 article in Nature (and a correction) discusses the above study but the article is about double-blind review versus single-blind review, and not about blind review versus open review.