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Is there fame bias in editorial choice?

Nature's Correspondence items are reviewed only by the editors (see go.nature.com/cmchno). To investigate whether editorial bias towards internationally renowned correspondents might be at play in selecting candidates for publication, we analysed the scientific status of Correspondence authors published in 2014.

We used the following pointers to gauge author reputation: faculty member in one of the world's top 100 universities (as listed in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings; see go.nature.com/bhgfxd); authorship of Nature or Science publications; high h index. We classed correspondents as established scholars if they fulfilled any or all of these criteria.

The number of letters published in Correspondence in 2014 was 239, each with one 'corresponding author' responsible for submission and communication with the editors. We found that 54% of these authors met some or all of our criteria. Some 13% of authors came from the developing world.

Within the limitations of our 'fame factors' (for example, some correspondents were well known but from outside academia), we infer that scientific celebrity of the primary correspondent does not notably influence the selection of letters for publication.

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Correspondence to Omid Mahian.

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Mahian, O. Is there fame bias in editorial choice?. Nature 519, 414 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/519414d

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