Opening The Black-Box of Referee Behaviour. An Agent-Based Model of Peer Review
by Flaminio Squazzoni and Claudio Gandelli
ABSTRACT. This paper investigates the impact of referee behaviour on the quality and efficiency of peer review. We focused especially on the importance of reciprocity motives to ensure cooperation between everyone involved. We modelled peer review as a process based on knowledge asymmetries and subject to evaluation bias. We built various simulation scenarios where we tested interaction conditions and manipulated author and referee behaviour. We found that reciprocity per se can have a negative effect on peer review as it tends to increase evaluation bias. It can have a positive impact only when purged by self-interest motivation and accompanied by disinterestedness and fairness standard.
KEYWORDS. Peer review; referees; referee behaviour; reciprocity; agent-based model.