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June 3, 1992

Publication Bias and the Editorial Process

Author Affiliations

Baystate Medical Center Springfield, Mass

JAMA. 1992;267(21):2891. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480210049016

To the Editor.  —The study by Dickersin et al from Johns Hopkins1 on publication of research results and the Editorial by Dr Rennie and Ms Flanagin2 neglected to analyze the response of journal editors to the reputation of the institution from which the manuscript originated. My experience is that editors are influenced favorably to publish manuscripts from "big name" institutions. I am concerned that "negative" results from a less prominent institution are less likely to be published, even if the paper is well written and the results are derived from an excellent protocol with impeccable numbers. What was the pattern of editorial response? How many manuscripts were returned for revision more than once? Were the reviews brief or "nitpicking"? How often did the Hopkins authors come away with the impression that the reviewer never read the manuscript beyond the abstract and that the review was unfair? Based on