July 13, 1994

Effect of Institutional Prestige on Reviewers' Recommendations and Editorial Decisions

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and Journal of Pediatrics, Chapel Hill.

JAMA. 1994;272(2):137-138. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520020063017

Objective.  —To determine whether manuscripts from institutions with greater prestige are more likely to be recommended for publication by reviewers and to be accepted for publication.

Design.  —Retrospective study of reviewers' recommendations and editorial decisions for manuscripts from the United States received at the Journal of Pediatrics between January 1 and July 31,1992. Manuscripts were classified as major papers or as brief reports. Institutions were ranked in quintiles according to the monetary value of grants funded by the National Institutes of Health. Reviewers' recommendations were classified as reject, reconsider, or accept, and editorial decisions as accept or reject, without regard to qualifying recommendations.

Results.  —For the 147 brief reports, lower institutional rank was associated with lower rates of recommendation for acceptance and of selection for publication. For the 258 major papers, however, there was no significant relationship between institutional rank and either the reviewers' recommendations or the acceptance rate. Similar results were found when the manuscripts were divided into five numerically equal groups according to institutional rank.

Conclusions.  —Major manuscripts from institutions with greater prestige were no more likely to be recommended or accepted for publication than those from institutions with lesser prestige. In contrast, the likelihood of recommendation for acceptance and of selection for publication of brief reports appeared to correlate with the prestige of the institution.(JAMA. 1994;272:137-138)