What’s in a name? Insiders, outsiders and peer-reviewed publications

Oh my. Some experimenters in psychology took previously published articles from, “investigators from prestigious and highly productive American psychology departments” that appeared in, “highly regarded and widely read American psychology journals with high rejection rates (80%) and nonblind refereeing practices.”

They then re-submitted those exact articles for publication with different, less prestigious, names and affiliations attached “e.g., Tri-Valley Center for Human Potential”.

The results?

“Of the sample of 38 editors and reviewers, only three (8%) detected the resubmissions. This result allowed nine of the 12 articles to continue through the review process to receive an actual evaluation: eight of the nine were rejected. Sixteen of the 18 referees (89%) recommended against publication and the editors concurred. The grounds for rejection were in many cases described as “serious methodological flaws.””

Only 3 of the 12 were even recognized as already published? 8 of the remaining 9 were rejected when the only difference was name and affiliation?

People, Rogoff-Reinhart syndrome goes well beyond automatic favorable exposure in non peer reviewed outlets. Name and affiliation can carry considerable weight in refereed outlets as well.

And maybe they should. The average Harvard professor is clearly better than the average OU professor.

So is it just cream rising to the top or is it an exclusionary club? And does the study I’ve described help answer that question? Tell me in the comments.