By Justin Caouette
When submitting a paper for blind review we are asked to remove all identifying information like our name, acknowledgements to places we have given the paper, and references to our own work when possible. This all makes sense to accomplish the goal of a solid blind review. But how far should we go to ensure the reviewer cannot find out about our work? I'd like to share a story but I will leave out all identifying information as one of the person's involved would rather not share their identity. I'd be curious to hear what you all think about the request and some of the concerns the person receiving the request has raised, here it goes.
Let me start by saying that the two people involved are junior people and both are on the job market. Person A recently gave comments at a recent well established conference in the discipline. "A" was proud to give these comments and spent money and time to get to the venue to deliver them. "A" put the commentary on their CV and called it a day. Nothing fancy, something like "Comments on X's paper blah, blah, blah, at the really cool conference 2016". "A" thought the comments went well and found the exchange and ensuing discussion to be fruitful. After making some changes to the paper the author of the paper, I will call them "X", planned to submit the paper for publication. "X" contacted "A" and asked "A" to take down the paper title so it cannot be found by possible reviewers, "X" asked that the title of the paper and their name be removed from their CV so that the paper could be submitted for blind review. In other words, X thinks this request is reasonable and would help to ensure blind review. However, "A" brought up some good points as to why they should be able to keep the author's name and paper title on their CV.
First, it seems to do a disservice to "A" because to take down the paper title and the name of the author is to remove some of the only activity from their CV that they added this year. Second, they spent money and time to present and now they would not be able to be credited for this at a time when CV's are looked at closely because they are applying for jobs. Third, commenting in a specific area shows that "A" is knowledgeable in that area, however without a paper title it's tough to tell what "A" presented at the conference. Lastly, pulling it from their CV doesn't remove the title from the conference program which is available online so it seems pointless to remove it from "A"'s CV unless it is also removed entirely from the internet.
Now, I must say that all of these points seem valid to me, but at the same time the request also seems legitimate. After all, "X" is simply prepping their paper for blind review and is doing some extra work to ensure that the reviewer cannot connect them to the paper. So, I am unsure what the person should do (which is why I am asking the Cocoon community for their input). I am sure the conference has a list of papers given (and author names connected to them) so if someone REALLY wants to find out I am sure they can. But, I am new to this so maybe this sort of thing is the norm. I'm leaning toward advising "A" to keep it up and explain to "X" why, but I wanted to discuss it here first as I don't want to offend "X". Ahhhh! Well, what do you say Cocooners (and others reading this)?