Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Peer-review practices of psychological journals: The fate of published articles, submitted again

  • Douglas P. Peters (a1) and Stephen J. Ceci (a2)

A growing interest in and concern about the adequacy and fairness of modern peer-review practices in publication and funding are apparent across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Although questions about reliability, accountability, reviewer bias, and competence have been raised, there has been very little direct research on these variables.

The present investigation was an attempt to study the peer-review process directly, in the natural setting of actual journal referee evaluations of submitted manuscripts. As test materials we selected 12 already published research articles by investigators from prestigious and highly productive American psychology departments, one article from each of 12 highly regarded and widely read American psychology journals with high rejection rates (80%) and nonblind refereeing practices.

With fictitious names and institutions substituted for the original ones (e.g., Tri-Valley Center for Human Potential), the altered manuscripts were formally resubmitted to the journals that had originally refereed and published them 18 to 32 months earlier. 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.” A number of possible interpretations of these data are reviewed and evaluated.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

D. E. Chubin & T. Connolly (1982) Research trails and science policies: Local and extra-local negotiation of scientific work. In: Scientific establishments and hierarchies, ed. N. Elias , H. Martins , & H. Whitley . Sociology of the Sciences, vol. 6, pp. 293311. [ALP]

J. M. Davidson & R. J. Davidson , eds. (1980) The psychobiology of consciousness. New York: Plenum. [MJM]

L. Huxley (1900) Life and letters of Thomas Henry Huxley. London: Macmillan and Co. [LD]

L. Huxley (1900) Life and letters of Thomas Henry Huxley. London: Macmillan and Co. [LD]

I. Lakatos (1970) Falsification and the methodology of scientific research programmes. In: Criticism and the growth of knowledge, ed. I. Lakatos & A. Musgrave , pp. 91196. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [MJM]

I. Lakatos & A. Musgrave , eds. (1970) Criticism and the growth of knowledge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [MJM]

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 244 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 9228 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th August 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.