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« Job Market Mentoring Program for Women in Philosophy | Main | Time for a conversation about unpublished-work-sharing norms? »

08/23/2016

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Jerry Green

Interesting case. I've never heard of an author going to those lengths to preserve blind review.

Since I'm a big proponent of blind-review preservation, I'm basically on X's side here. But I think there's a decent compromise I would use if I were A. Basically, I'd keep the entry on the CV, but with a format like:

(2015) "Comments on [Title and Author removed for Blind review", Actual Name of Conference.

I think you can get away with keeping the conference name, because most readers wouldn't be able to connect X and A unless they were at X's session. I suppose its possible that a single person could (i) be on a committee and see A's CV while (ii) simultaneously be the referee for X's paper, and (iii) also be one of the conference participants, and so infer from A's CV that X's paper was one of those papers presented. But I don't think that's problem, because (in addition to the very small likelihood), if a referee were at the conference and could remember X's talk, they could do so regardless of A's CV.

So, all in all, I think this approach would allow A to get the benefit of keeping the conference name on the CV without adding to the likelihood that X's anonymity is damaged during the review process.

Jerry Green

One other thing: Asking to remove the paper title from a website is reasonable, since its easily google-able. Asking to remove the title from a CV seems less reasonable.

If you embed your CV as a viewable doc or as a downloadable file (like I do here: http://jerrygreen.weebly.com/cv.html), then I don't think a ref would be able to find it unless they're already reading A's website (at least in normal circumstances)

SH

"Please do this thing that will negatively impact your CV, so that when a reviewer knowingly and purposefully attempts to violate the blind review process, I will not be negatively impacted. Thanks!"

The obligation is on the reviewer to not try to hunt down the paper's author! The only way A's CV could interfere with blind review is if the reviewer is purposefully looking to discover the author of the paper. Certainly reviewers do that, but they shouldn't. The reviewer's potential violation of their obligations does not create this obligation for A.

Douglas W. Portmore

I don't think that X should expect A to remove such an item from his or her CV. And I think that it's even a bit impolite even to ask that this be done. Perhaps, X could give the paper a different title when presenting it. But, of course, there's always the chance that a future referee will be in the audience.

shane wilkins

I think "X" is being a bit overzealous here. Anonymizing is meant as a best practice to keep readers from being accidentally influence by factors other than the quality of the paper before them. It isn't meant to stop a persistent reader who is *trying* to compromise the blind review process. I keep my "works in progress" off my website and off my online CV as a "best practice" just in case someone who is reading one of my submissions might stumble across it, but I think it's highly unlikely that something like this would happen in "X"s case where the reader is reading X's paper and accidentally comes across the "commentaries" section of "A"'s online CV.

Not-X

X has no claim on A. Indeed, A has every right to post their accomplishments on their c.v. and every right (though I would not) to post their c.v. where ever they want to.
If X is really concerned, then s/he should change the title of her/his paper when s/he submits it to a journal. That is an action in X's control.

Justin Caouette

This is all very helpful! Thanks so much for chiming in, everyone.

I agree with most of what has been said and I think there are lots of good suggestions here. I initially shared many of the same sentiments being expressed when I first heard the story, though I may be a bit more sympathetic to X now than I was initially.

I started the second para with some information that helps me understand X's concern for trying to go above and beyond to anonomyze. I said "Let me start by saying that the two people involved are junior people and both are on the job market." This is important. As graduate students we often feel that we will not be taken seriously if one knows that we are mere grad students. So I can understand X's attempt to go above and beyond, I just don't think X should use 'A' to accomplish that goal. I think the suggestion by "Not-X" is a reasonable one, however I am unsure if X has or has not submitted the manuscript for publication yet. I'm under the impression that it has not been submitted yet.

Chris Stephens

I agree with Not-X. I'm somewhat surprised anyone (other than X) thinks otherwise.

Jonathan Weinberg

Isn't the easiest solution for X to submit the paper under a different title than the one that appeared on the conference program? I suspect they could even change it back to match the conference title, upon acceptance.

Michel X.

I'm with the others: provisional title change seems like the best preventive measure here. It's also the one which is going to require the least amount of work on X's part. I certainly wouldn't have the energy (not to mention desire!) to hunt down all my commentators, pose the request, and then argue for it if they were resistant. The time is just better spent finding a placeholder title and moving on.

Rob

I agree with Not-X. I'm very surprised anyone (including X) thinks otherwise.

Jonathan Ichikawa

I agree with the consensus against X. If anonymous reviewing is *that* important to X, the solution is to refrain from presenting papers at conferences before publishing them. (I suggest modus tollens.)

Elisa Freschi

Sorry for intruding so late. I appreciate X's concerns, since, as a reviewer who tries *not* to find out who the author is, I am often very annoyed by how authors leave obvious traces, such as using titles like "Studies in X, part 2", so that having read part 1 is enough to know who the author is. However, the solution is easy and advisable for all cases (since reviewers may have been at the same conference or at least read the program): Use different titles for conference papers and published versions thereof. Why don't we all agree about it?

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