American Economic Association Acaba com o “Double-Blind Review”
A American Economic Association (AEA) decidiu acabar com o sistema de duplo anonimato (double-blind review) na submissão de artigos acadêmicos para seus journals. No atual sistema, tanto o autor do artigo quanto o revisor (referee) são mantidos em sigilo. No novo sistema, que se inicia no primeiro de julho, o nome dos autores dos artigos submetidos serão revelados, enquanto que o nome dos revisores continuam secretos.
A introdução do novo sistema de simples anonimato (single-blind review) foi assim justificado pela AEA:
Journal Publication Policies. On April 15, 2011, the Executive Committee voted to drop “double-blind” refereeing for the Association’s journals. The change to “single-blind” refereeing (the referees’ identity remains undisclosed) is effective July 1, 2011. Easy access to search engines increasingly limits the effectiveness of the double-blind process in maintaining author anonymity. Double-blind refereeing also increases administrative costs of the journals and makes it harder for referees to identify an author’s potential conflicts of interest arising, for example, from consulting.
A decisão do comitê executivo da AEA despertou algumas críticas. A primeira é que a nova política colocaria em desvantagem acadêmicos menos conhecidos, autores de minorias étnicas e autores de países menos desenvolvidos. A segunda é a de que há evidência econométrica de as mulheres são negativamente afetadas quando os nomes dos autores não são mantidos em sigilo (ver Marianne A. Ferber and Michelle L. Teiman “AreWomen Economists at a Disadvantage in Publishing Journal Articles?” Eastern Economic Journal 6, 3-4 (August-October, 1980): 189-94). A política atual do duplo anonimato mantém um grau maior de isonomia entre os acadêmicos e melhora a qualidade dos artigos publicados, pois favorece a publicação por mérito e não pela identificação do autor.
Há uma petição online para que as pessoas se oponham publicamente à nova medida da AEA: http://www.petitiononline.com/AEA/petition.html Entre os que já assinaram a petição estão nomes bem famosos:
George Akerlof, University of California, Berkeley
Kenneth Arrow, Stanford University
Barbara R. Bergmann, University of Maryland and American University
Marianne A. Ferber, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Heidi Hartmann, Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Myra H. Strober, Stanford University
PETITION ~ American Economic Association Double-Anonymous Reviewing
We, the following, oppose the American Economic Association’s decision to drop double-anonymous (“double-blind”) refereeing for the Association’s seven print journals and twenty online field journals. Double-anonymous refereeing ensures that scholarly work is evaluated and published more by its merits than by its author’s identity.
While no large-scale experiment has definitively identified the causal effect of double-anonymous reviewing on the propensity to publish scholarship from women, minorities, scholars from other countries, and junior scholars, strong suggestive correlations are well documented and should not be ignored. In addition, many experimental studies demonstrate conclusively that evaluations can be influenced by subtle clues about a candidate’s identity or institutional affiliation. In light of evidence that the refereeing process influences publication decisions, the AEA instituted double-anonymous refereeing in 1991.
It is imperative that the AEA continue double-anonymous reviewing in its journals to prevent unconscious bias against women, minorities, and less well-known scholars and to promote a peer review system that adheres as much as possible to ideals of fairness and impartiality.
We understand that the AEA has initiated this action out of two concerns: a belief that referees should know the identities of authors in order to determine whether they have conflicts of interest regarding their research, and the idea that double-anonymous refereeing is simply useless, as referees often know who the authors are and can easily discover who wrote a particular article through web searches.
We believe the AEA’s policy change does not address either of these problems and that other solutions would be more effective. First, referees are neither likely to know of authors’ conflicts of interest nor should they be responsible for knowing these. Insisting that authors reveal any potential conflicts is a better approach. Many journals require statements from authors detailing any potential conflicts of interest, and there has been a call for all economics journals to do the same.
Second, we believe that rather than simply give up in the face of search engine technology, the AEA can institute a code of ethical conduct whereby referees agree not to conduct web searches to identify authors. Although a determined reviewer can often identify authors with internet research, there is little point in instituting a policy that removes all barriers to discovering author identities. A better strategy would be for journals to ask reviewers to refrain from efforts to identify authors of papers they have agreed to review and to self-disclose if they know who the author is, giving the editors the option to pick a different reviewer. Additionally, journals can require that authors maintain anonymity through careful writing (such as avoiding obvious self-referencing and altering titles to be dissimilar to earlier versions circulated online).
We believe these simple solutions will address the AEA’s concerns more effectively than changing the policy of double-anonymous reviewing, which may lead to bias against, and therefore reduced publications by, women, minorities, junior scholars, and scholars from other countries.
We urge the AEA to reverse this policy change so that implicit biases against these groups are not inadvertently tolerated or encouraged by the Association.