Metascience on Peer Review: Testing the Effects of a Study’s Originality and Statistical Significance in a Field Experiment
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Description: Peer review has become the gold standard in scientific publishing as a selection method and a refinement scheme for research reports. However, despite its pervasiveness and conferred importance, relatively little empirical research has been conducted to document its effectiveness. Further, there is evidence that factors other than a submission’s merits can substantially influence peer reviewers’ evaluations. We report the results of a metascientific field experiment on the effect of the originality of a study and the statistical significance of its primary outcome on reviewers’ evaluations. The general aim of this experiment, which was carried out in the peer-review process for a conference, was to demonstrate the feasibility and value of metascientific experiments on the peer-review process and thereby encourage research that will lead to understanding its mechanisms and determinants, effectively contextualizing it in psychological theories of various biases, and developing practical procedures to increase its utility.