Aim: This paper is a report of a study to assess the beliefs and preferences of reviewers for nursing journals about blinding of authors to reviewers, reviewers to authors, neither or both.
Background: Blinding of author and reviewer names in the manuscript review process has been of interest to nursing editors, but reports that are based on data rather than simply opinion concern the editorial practices of biomedical rather than nursing journals. There has been no study of nursing journal reviewer beliefs and preferences related to blinding.
Method: A descriptive web-based survey was conducted. The sample included 1675 anonymous reviewers, recruited through 52 editors of nursing journals from their review panels. Data were collected in 2007.
Findings: Double-blinding of reviews was the most common method reported. Ninety per cent of respondents reported that the papers they received to review did not include author names. When author names were blinded, 62% of reviewers could not identify the authors of papers; another 17% could identify authors < or =10% of the time. Double-blinding was the method preferred by 93.6% of reviewers, although some identified some advantages to an unblinded open review process.
Conclusion: Nursing journal reviewers are generally very satisfied with double-blinding and believe it contributes to the quality of papers published. Editors or editorial boards interested in a more open review process could consider alternatives such as offering authors and reviewers the option to unblind themselves. Simply announcing that the review process will henceforth be unblinded would probably lead to loss of reviewers.