, Volume 120, Issue 3, pp 1351–1371 | Cite as

What might get published in management and applied psychology? Experimentally manipulating implicit expectations of reviewers regarding hedges

  • Nida ul Habib Bajwa
  • Markus LangerEmail author
  • Cornelius J. König
  • Hannah Honecker


Researchers’ careers depend on publishing papers. There are explicit expectations (e.g., paper structure) that affect editors’ and reviewers’ perceptions of manuscripts and therefore chances of publishing papers that can be easily conveyed in written feedback. However, previous research uncovered that some expectations could be rather implicit, thus reviewers and editors might not be aware that those may affect their perceptions of manuscripts. Specifically, the use of hedges (i.e., words that create vagueness; e.g., “the results show” vs. “the results might show”) seems to be expected by editors and reviewers of high impact management and applied psychology journals. However, previous work did not investigate causality of hedges on publishing recommendations. The current experiment introduced reviewers (N = 96) from top-tier journals from psychology and management with one of two versions of an introduction differing in the use of hedges. Results provide first evidence that authors’ use of hedges impacts reviewers’ recommendation for publication and suggest that this expectation is rather implicit. Moreover, the findings call for research on implicit expectations in the publishing process, may have important consequences for reviewers’ and editors’ awareness of this topic, and raise attention in novice and international researchers to subtle aspects of language that might influence chances of publishing.


Publishing process Hedging Implicit expectations Academic writing Meta-research 


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universität des SaarlandesSaarbrückenGermany

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