Status bias!

I wasn’t aware of this parameter around publications.

Nobel and Novice: Author Prominence Affects Peer Review by Juergen Huber, Sabiou Inoua, Rudolf Kerschbamer, Christian König-Kersting, Stefan Palan, Vernon L. Smith :: SSRN

Peer-review is a well-established cornerstone of the scientific process, yet it is not immune to status bias. Merton identified the problem as one in which prominent researchers get disproportionately great credit for their contribution while relatively unknown researchers get disproportionately little credit (Merton, 1968). We measure the extent of this effect in the peer-review process through a pre-registered field experiment. We invite more than 3,300 researchers to review a paper jointly written by a prominent author – a Nobel laureate – and by a relatively unknown author – an early-career research associate -, varying whether reviewers see the prominent author’s name, an anonymized version of the paper, or the less well-known author’s name. We find strong evidence for the status bias: while only 23 percent recommend “reject” when the prominent researcher is the only author shown, 48 percent do so when the paper is anonymized, and 65 percent do so when the little-known author is the only author shown. Our findings complement and extend earlier results on double-anonymized vs. single-anonymized review (Peters and Ceci, 1982; Blank, 1991; Cox et al., 1993; Okike et al., 2016; Tomkins et al., 2017; Card and Della Vigna, 2020) and strongly suggest that double-anonymization is a minimum requirement for an unbiased review process.

All my papers are accepted outside my institution and country. All of them, despite credible merit (logic and argument), were accepted as abstracts. Almost everything else presented in the international conferences is related to showcasing the “local talent” (much like the gatekeeping). In pure radiation oncology conferences, other specialities may get a passing mention, and reverse holds true. A “second or a third grade” conference is determined by the “quality of attendees or late breaking abstracts”, depending on how much hype they can create. Major international conferences, sponsored by companies and institutions, almost always fail to mention the conflict of interest while getting the “centre-stage” and “viewer interest”. I don’t remember the last “path-breaking abstract” or “paper” presented when I attended one.

Credentials are burnished. One starts through the low grind and building networks to a relatively well accepted “double blind peer review process”. I am not implying it’s easier for others to go through, but the multitude of support staff, an army of statisticians and PowerPoint presentations is easy to bling. That explains the draw of “attracting talent” or those without it to remain on the sidelines and putting up money for attending to be noticed.

More on Nature:

Authors’ names have ‘astonishing’ influence on peer reviewers

More importantly, knowledge of authorship markedly affected the reviewers’ opinions of the paper. Ignorance of the Nobel laureate’s authorship boosted recommended rejection rates nearly threefold, from 23% (when the laureate’s name was revealed) to 65% (when the little-known author’s name was revealed). Advice to accept the paper outright, or with minor revisions, skyrocketed sixfold — from 10% to 59% — when Smith’s authorship was declared. “I knew intuitively that Vernon and I would not suffer the same rejection rates from reviewers, but not a gap of this extent,” says Inoua. Their paper is now undergoing revisions — based on the daunting mass of more than 600 pages of reviewer comments, rather than the usual page or three from a couple of reviewers.

Mind you, it’s a plug for the actual paper, so therefore draw your conclusions carefully. I would have never known about the actual paper being published without this particular plug being posted on some forum.

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