Preference and Characteristics of US-Based Authors for Single- vs Double-Anonymous Peer Review

Meredith S. Campbell Joseph,1 Amy L. Davidow,2 Lewis R. First,3 Alex R. Kemper4


In May 2020, Pediatrics moved to a new author submission platform that allows authors to choose single-anonymous (SA) or double-anonymous (DA) peer review.1 Prior to May 2020, SA reviewing was the only option. The purpose of this study was to describe author characteristics associated with choosing SA vs DA peer review. We tested 3 hypotheses: (1) corresponding authors who are women are more likely to select DA peer review than those who are men, (2) corresponding authors who are junior faculty (ie, assistant professors, instructors, or trainees) are more likely to select DA peer review than faculty at higher academic ranks (ie, associate professor or professors), and (3) corresponding authors who select DA peer review are more likely to have their manuscript rejected than those who select SA peer review given that knowledge of a well-respected author by the reviewer may preferentially bias the reviewer favorably.


In this cross-sectional study, we classified Pediatrics articles (submitted between May 4, 2020, and April 1, 2021) by peer review type and then randomly sampled 150 articles of each type. After excluding sampled articles that were not “regular studies” and others without a US-based author, 169 regular research articles (73 SA and 96 DA peer review) remained. Corresponding author gender and academic rank were determined manually using an internet search. We tested our hypotheses using χ² tests and χ² tests for trend.


Of the 2720 regular articles submitted to the journal during the study period, 505 (18.6%) were submitted for DA peer review. We found no difference in the proportion of corresponding authors who chose DA peer review by gender (62% men vs 53% women; P = .24). There was no statistically significant difference in the likelihood of choosing DA peer review with increasingly higher academic rank (χ² test for trend, P = .20). The likelihood of rejection was somewhat higher for DA vs SA peer review; however, this difference was not significant (94.8% vs 86.3%; P = .06).


US-based author preference for DA peer review in Pediatrics was not associated with gender or faculty rank. Given that nearly 1 in 5 authors submitting to Pediatrics preferred DA peer review, both options will continue to be offered.


1. Morrison JM, First LR, Kemper AR. Recommendations for blinded peer review: a survey of high-quality Pediatrics reviewers. Pediatrics. 2020;146(2):e20201403. doi:0.1542/peds.2020-1403

1Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA, meredith.campbell@vcuhealth.org; 2Department of Biostatistics, New York University School of Global Public Health, New York, NY, USA; 3Department of Pediatrics, The Larner College of Medicine, The University of Vermont and The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital, Burlington, VT, USA; 4Division of Primary Care Pediatrics, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA

Conflict of Interest Disclosures

None reported.