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Peer Review Congress
July 15, 1998

US and Non-US Submissions: An Analysis of Reviewer Bias

Author Affiliations

From Gastroenterology , Bethesda, Md. Ms Link is now with the Journal of Immunology , Bethesda, Md.

JAMA. 1998;280(3):246-247. doi:10.1001/jama.280.3.246

Context.— Reviewers increasingly are asked to review manuscripts from outside their own country, but whether they are more likely to recommend acceptance of such manuscripts is not known.

Objective.— To assess whether US reviewers or non-US reviewers evaluate manuscripts differently, depending on whether the manuscripts are submitted from outside the United States or from the United States.

Design and Setting.— A retrospective analysis of all original submissions received by Gastroenterology in 1995 and 1996. Reviewers ranked manuscripts in 4 decision categories: accept, provisionally accept, reject with resubmission, or reject.

Main Outcome Measure.— Ranking of papers based on nationality of authors and reviewers.

Results.— The percentage of non-US manuscripts placed in each decision category by US (n=2355) and non-US reviewers (n=1297) was nearly identical (P=.31). However, US reviewers recommended acceptance of papers submitted by US authors more often than did non-US reviewers (P=.001). Non-US reviewers ranked US papers slightly more favorably than non-US papers (P=.09), while US reviewers ranked US papers much more favorably (P=.001).

Conclusions.— Reviewers from the United States and outside the United States evaluate non-US papers similarly and evaluate papers submitted by US authors more favorably, with US reviewers having a significant preference for US papers.