The editors should avoid geographic bias in the selection of reviewers

Nowadays, peer review is a cornerstone of modern scholarly communication. Peer review is based on the principle that all scientists are equal: only specific work is evaluated, regardless of authors’ previous achievements, positions, institutions or countries. At the same time, each author has the right to freely choose a journal for publication and count on impartial peer review. However, recently I have started to notice that journal editors are asking me to review manuscripts exclusively from scientists from a certain group of developing countries. And this applies to journals of different fields and different international publishers. 

In private conversations, my colleagues confirmed that they too had noticed this trend, and this selectivity is often demonstrated by open and hybrid journals that charge APCs. Taking into account the lower research outputs of developing countries compared to the research outputs of developed countries, researchers in developing countries are also having less experience in reviewing English-language papers. 

Therefore, I fear that such a selective approach to the geography of reviewers may sometimes be deliberately used by some editors to legitimize questionable manuscript acceptance decisions. 

If such selectivity really exists, then it is difficult for researchers from developing countries to develop a culture of quality peer review. Perhaps new initiatives to implement open peer review, including the disclosure of reviewers' affiliations, will soon allow us to test these suspicions. 

But regardless of whether a journal uses open or blind peer review, editors should avoid geographic bias in the selection process of potential reviewers.

2 коментарі:

  1. Анонім05.09.22, 21:09

    I also noticed this, especially before the war, when my manuscripts for far from Eastern European journals were clearly reviewed by Russians.

    1. From my experience, russians often reviewed our works. They are more active at conferences, they pay membership fees to various research organizations, they have better government support... so it is not surprising that they are more willing to be invited by journal editors.