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Study finds bias in peer review

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10:47am, May 2, 2006

Researchers have found evidence of bias when scientists review data and the researcher's name and affiliation are available to the reviewers.

The survey focused on some 67,000 research abstracts submitted to the American Heart Association (AHA) between 2000 and 2004. Experts in the field annually review the abstracts and deem about 30 percent of them acceptable for presentation at the organization's annual meeting.

Beginning in 2002, AHA changed its review process so that authors' names and affiliations were stripped from abstracts before they were sent out for peer review. Joseph S. Ross of the Yale University School of Medicine and his colleagues now report that the change triggered major shifts in which categories of authors were most likely to have their abstracts accepted.

For instance, during 2000 and 2001, abstracts from U.S. authors were 80 percent more likely to be accepted than were those from non-U.S. authors. After blinding, the U.S.-based papers were

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