Commensuration Bias in Peer Review

Lee, Carole J.  “Commensuration Bias in Peer Review.” Philosophy of Science 82 (2015): 1272-1283.

To arrive at their final evaluation of a manuscript or grant proposal, reviewers must convert a submission’s strengths and weaknesses for heterogeneous peer review criteria into a single metric of quality or merit. I identify this process of commensuration as the locus for a new kind of peer review bias. Commensuration bias illuminates how the systematic prioritization of some peer review criteria over others permits and facilitates problematic patterns of publication and funding in science. Commensuration bias also foregrounds a range of structural strategies for realigning peer review practices and institutions with the aims of science.