Anonymous author peer review

A paper written by a well-known author is more likely to be published than one written by a newcomer.  A paper written by someone from a respected institution is more likely to be published than one written by someone from a less-known one.  Is this a problem?  Or is it a good thing?  Should a work have to stand on its own and be judged on its own merits, or does the reputation of the author and the author’s affiliations add something to its merit?

It would be nice if there were two separate systems–one where the identity of the author is not known to the reviewers and one where it is known.  We beginners could be judged on merit alone, and the well-established could still leverage the hard work that they have put in over the years.  I don’t mind reputation swaying the likelihood of acceptance a little: even Einstein’s mistakes may still be interesting.  But it would be a good thing to also have an auxilliary track, one where a paper must stand on its own merits.

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