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Original Articles and Reviews

Result-Blind Peer Reviews and Editorial Decisions

A Missing Pillar of Scientific Culture

Published Online:

The present article suggests a possible way to reduce the file drawer problem in scientific research (Rosenthal, 1978, 1979), that is, the tendency for “nonsignificant” results to remain hidden in scientists’ file drawers because both authors and journals strongly prefer statistically significant results. We argue that peer-reviewed journals based on the principle of rigorous evaluation of research proposals before results are known would address this problem successfully. Even a single journal adopting a result-blind evaluation policy would remedy the persisting problem of publication bias more efficiently than other tools and techniques suggested so far. We also propose an ideal editorial policy for such a journal and discuss pragmatic implications and potential problems associated with this policy. Moreover, we argue that such a journal would be a valuable addition to the scientific publication outlets, because it supports a scientific culture encouraging the publication of well-designed and technically sound empirical research irrespective of the results obtained. Finally, we argue that such a journal would be attractive for scientists, publishers, and research agencies.