, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 91-106

First online:

Neglected considerations in the analysis of agreement among journal referees

  • L. L. HargensAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, University of Illinois
  • , J. R. HertingAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology Stanford University

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Studies of representative samples of submissions to scientific journals show statistically significant associations between referees' recommendations. These associations are moderately large given the multidimensional and unstable character of scientists' evaluations of papers, and composites of referees' recommendations can significantly aid editors in selecting manuscripts for publication, especially when there is great variability in the quality of submissions and acceptance rates are low. Assessments of the value of peer-review procedures in journal manuscript evaluation should take into account features of the entire scholarly communications system present in a field.