Epistemic Diversity and Editor Decisions: A Statistical Matthew Effect

Remco Heesen*, Jan-Willem Romeijn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
81 Downloads (Pure)


This paper offers a new angle on the common idea that the process of science does not support epistemic diversity. Under minimal assumptions on the nature of journal editing, we prove that editorial procedures, even when impartial in themselves, disadvantage less prominent research programs. This purely statistical bias in article selection further skews existing differences in the success rate and hence attractiveness of research programs, and exacerbates the reputation difference between the programs. After a discussion of the modeling assumptions, the paper ends with a number of recommendations that may help promote scientific diversity through editorial decision making.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages21
JournalPhilosophers' Imprint
Issue number39
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2019


  • Philosophy of science
  • Social structure of science
  • Cognitive division of labor
  • Matthew effect
  • Social epistemology
  • Formal epistemology
  • BIAS

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