Single versus Double Blind Reviewing at WSDM 2017

Authors: Andrew Tomkins, Min Zhang, William D. Heavlin

Abstract: In this paper we study the implications for conference program committees of adopting single-blind reviewing, in which committee members are aware of the names and affiliations of paper authors, versus double-blind reviewing, in which this information is not visible to committee members. WSDM 2017, the 10th ACM International ACM Conference on Web Search and Data Mining, performed a controlled experiment in which each paper was reviewed by four committee members. Two of these four reviewers were chosen from a pool of committee members who had access to author information; the other two were chosen from a disjoint pool who did not have access to this information. This information asymmetry persisted through the process of bidding for papers, reviewing papers, and entering scores. Reviewers in the single-blind condition typically bid for 26% more papers, and bid preferentially for papers from top institutions. Once papers were allocated to reviewers, single-blind reviewers were significantly more likely than their double-blind counterparts to recommend for acceptance papers from famous authors and top institutions. In each case, the estimated odds multiplier is around $1.5times$, so the result is quite strong. We did not however see differences in bidding or reviewing behavior between single-blind and double-blind reviewers for papers with female authors. We describe our findings in detail and offer some recommendations.

Andrew Tomkins, Min Zhang, William D. Heavlin. (2017).  Single versus Double Blind Reviewing at WSDM 2017. arxiv

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