Pysch prof to researchers: Please publish studies anonymously

Flattery. Nepotism. Popularity bias. The real motives driving the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s choices of Golden Globe winners? No—a few of the foibles compromising the integrity of name-based academic research, including peer-reviewed work published in medical journals.

At least that’s how psychologist Paul Hanel, PhD, of Cardiff University in the U.K. sees it.

Hanel has published a manuscript arguing that, by publishing anonymously, researchers in all fields of scientific inquiry could help curtail the incidence of “inaccurate heuristics” impacting the scientific communication system.

Further, anonymously published arguments are more likely to be evaluated objectively, Hanel posits.

“The work of a Nobel Prize winner will only be evaluated more positive if the quality is higher,” he writes, “and not because she is a Nobel laureate.”

As unlikely as his prescriptions are to win widespread adoption, Hanel supports his hypothesis with numerous research citations—and it’s consistent with a recent analysis of the social-media “like effect” on the influence and publishing odds of RSNA educational exhibits.

Read Hanel’s brief but thought-provoking paper (PDF).