Results-blind review at Japanese Journal of Political Science

by Kentaro Fukumoto, editor, Japanese Journal of Political Science

The Japanese Journal of Political Science consider “result-blind” submissions which will receive a special review process that focuses on the research design. As an editor of the journal, below I explain our motivation and the review process.

Our intention for this peer-review method is two-fold: to encourage the “design-based approach” and to reduce publication bias. We recognize that the current peer-review process in political science underestimates the value of empirical work without statistical significance. The result-blind review process offers one approach to ameliorate this potential bias. Toward this goal, the journal evaluates a manuscript on the basis of the persuasiveness of the question framing and research design rather than the statistical result.

Authors wishing to submit their manuscript in this article category should submit the full paper except for the sections on the results and conclusions. The authors submit their initial manuscript either before or after they complete data collection for the study; they are encouraged to describe in detail the data collection process. In addition, the manuscript should elaborate on its pre-analysis plan. The journal may “pre-accept” the result-blind manuscript if editors, with recommendations from anonymous reviewers, affirm relevance of the question being addressed, appropriateness of the design, and persuasiveness of the plan of analysis.

After the pre-acceptance of the initial manuscript, the authors are invited to submit the complete manuscript, which adds sections on data, results, discussion, and conclusion to the pre-accepted result-blind paper. The authors may rewrite abstract and references, but should not otherwise change the pre-accepted result-blind paper. Without consideration to the statistical results of the analysis, the editors are committed to accepting any pre-accepted manuscripts as long as the authors implement data collection and analysis as proposed in the result-blind paper. The editors do not send the complete manuscript to reviewers, whose role is limited to the evaluation of the result-blind paper. When data collection and analysis deviate from the design, the editors reserve the right to reject the complete manuscript. The editors will add a note which enables readers to know exactly which part the journal pre-accepted.

The journal expects that the result-blind peer-review is most suitable for a registered experimental study, where the initial submission (that is subject to the result-blind review) primarily contains a pre-analysis plan. Nonetheless, the journal does not insist that authors write the manuscript before obtaining the results. They may collect, view, and even analyze the data and obtain results. The authors may not refer to the results in the initial submission.

This category of submission is still relatively new in the discipline, and the journal welcomes any question. Please do not hesitate to send inquiries to with the header “Inquiry about Result Blind Review.”