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Result-Blind Reviewed Article Instructions to Contributors

(August 1, 2018)

The authors may elect to choose either the standard “full paper” review or the “result-blind” review for the method of peer-review for their research note at the Japanese Journal of Political Science. Should the authors wish their manuscripts to be reviewed as a result-blind research note, they should indicate their intention in the cover letter. Our intention for this new peer-review method is two-fold: to encourage the “design-based approach” and to reduce publication bias. We recognize that the current peer-review process in political science underestimates the value of empirical work without statistical significance. The result-blind review process offers one approach to ameliorate this potential bias. Toward this goal, the journal evaluates a manuscript on the basis of the persuasiveness of the question framing and research design rather than the statistical result.

Authors wishing to submit their manuscript in this article category should submit the full paper except for the sections on the results and conclusions. The authors submit their initial manuscript either before or after they complete data collection for the study; they are encouraged to describe in detail the data collection process. In addition, the manuscript should elaborate on its pre-analysis plan. The journal may “pre-accept” the result-blind manuscript if editors, with recommendations from anonymous reviewers, affirm:

  • Relevance of the question being addressed;
  • Appropriateness of the design;
  • Persuasiveness of the plan of analysis.

No later than three months after the pre-acceptance of the initial manuscript, the authors should submit the complete manuscript, which adds sections on data, results, discussion, and conclusion to the pre-accepted result-blind paper. The authors may rewrite abstract and references, but should not otherwise change the pre-accepted result-blind paper. Without consideration to the statistical results of the analysis, the editors are committed to accepting any pre-accepted manuscripts as long as the authors implement data collection and analysis as proposed in the result-blind paper. The editors do not send the complete manuscript to reviewers, whose role is limited to the evaluation of the result-blind paper. When data collection and analysis deviate from the design, the editors reserve the right to reject the complete manuscript. The editors will add a note which enables readers to know exactly which part the journal pre-accepted.

The journal expects that the result-blind peer-review is most suitable for a registered experimental study, where the initial submission (that is subject to the result-blind review) primarily contains a pre-analysis plan. Nonetheless, the journal does not insist that authors write the manuscript before obtaining the results. They may collect, view, and even analyze the data and obtain results. The authors may not refer to the results in the initial submission. The journal also considers all types of scholarships and research programs including qualitative works (e.g., historical analysis and case studies), in the result-blind peer-review process. The process would be similar with a referee review of the results-blind paper in terms of its question, research design, and case selection. The complete paper would then add the analysis of evidence from case study interviews and/or archival research.

This category of submission is still relatively new in the discipline, and the journal welcomes any question. Please do not hesitate to send inquiry to jjps@cambridge.org with the header “Inquiry about Result Blind Review.”