This study explores potential bias in the editorial peer-review system within the context of the field of comparative and international education. Assuming the role as “Guardian of Science” and “social status judge” (Zuckerman & Merton, 1971), peer-review, the quality control system of science, directly affects the growth of science, scientists' academic career and their institutions. The very basic tenet of the peer review system is its assumed objectivity. Bias in editorial peer review process, however, is inevitable. The constitution of the blind peer review mechanism is itself a simply undeniable acknowledgement of that fact. Therefore, this study investigated potential peer-review bias by examining the core peer-reviewed academic journal publications of the field between 1994 and 2003, through the methods of social network analysis. In addition to some descriptive analysis on the overall state of the field, based on the criterion of centrality, focus was specifically given to two networks (co-authorship network and institutional network) and the network structure for patterns that might indicate bias in terms of author, gender, author-affiliated institution, country, number of articles published and number of journals in which the author published. Findings of this research revealed no discernable patterns nor network-wide centralization in either the co-authorship network or the institution network. Thus, no reason exists to suspect the objectivity of the peer-review process of the five core academic journals of comparative and international education 1994 – 2003 on the base of centrality. Further descriptive analyses, however, did reveal patterns that may represent norms of the field and, thus, may suggest potential sources of bias. Findings indicated that 1) scholars of the field tend to research independently and publish in relative isolation, and single-authored journal articles are the norm of the field; 2) the field is dominated by the scholars and institutions of Western countries, especially the U.K and the U.S; and 3) journals of the field tend to publish more authors from the hosting countries of the journal. The implications of these findings were also discussed.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Educational Leadership and Foundations



Date Submitted


Document Type





Peer Review Bias, Social Network Analysis, Coauthorship Network Analysis, Comparative Education, International Education, Centrality