I Can’t See You and You Can’t See Me: The Advantages of Double-Blindness in Reviewing Scientific Results

Cracked Science

Imagine doing a science experiment in an interrogation room while facing a two-way mirror. The people on the other side know who you are, but you have no idea who is judging you.

This, in a nutshell, is how scientific articles have traditionally been reviewed in the fields of molecular biology and genetics prior to publication. Your peers receive a copy of your manuscript that includes the names of every author as well as their affiliations; when you receive their comments, however, they are only known as “Reviewer #1”, “Reviewer #2”, and “Reviewer #3”. Some principal investigators may engage in Holmesian inductions to try and identify the reviewer who is asking them to redo an entire six-month experiment because it lacked replication, but these reviewers are protected by a blanket of anonymity that is usually hard to pull back.

Their namelessness is not the issue of this article. Rather, I…

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