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05/19/2017

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Early career philosopher

I have what I believe to be an almost foolproof method of making my papers unsearchable. Here it is.

1. When I upload my papers on my website, I upload them as picture pdf-s. There are softwares that can transform txt pdf-s into picture pdf.

2. I usually change the title, although there's a way to avoid that, too. You can replace some letters in the paper's title (as linked from your website) with typographically indistinguishable foreign characters (e.g. Greek, but there are other options too). These look exactly the same to the human eye, but the title won't show up on Google.

3. Within a paper, 1. can be replaced by 2., i.e. you can also replace Latin characters with typographically indistinguishable ones within the paper and upload if as a text pdf. I stopped using this, because it's a pain to change it back later.

These methods worked well for me, as I didn't seem to have gotten a single google search after paper submissions.

lategrad

Hi Early Career,

Awesome idea! I would have never thought of any of these.

Can you recommend some software to implement (1)?

recent grad

I just don't put work online until it's been accepted for publication. Titles of drafts I presented at conferences are often online, but I change the titles drastically. I've never had anyone reach my page by searching for a title of a paper I have under review. And I usually get about 40 people coming to my page a month--not a lot, but not nothing either.

lategrad

Oops, cancel that. I think I may have found a way to implement (1) that--for me, at least--required no new software.

Open a PDF, go to "print", then to the advanced settings. Select "print to image", then print. It will ask you where you want to save the new document, and then (I think) you've got it.

A harder way of doing this would be to print off your document and then scan it.

Amanda

Early career philosopher brings up some good suggestions, but to be honest, I am not going to bother going through all that work. I think it is a hopeless situation, and we should remove the facade of blind review.

First, authors present at conferences, and people commonly send their work around for others to read for feedback. I think this is what leads to the most blatant violation of blind review. Nothing about hiding titles or phrases can stop this. It happens all the time. I talk to persons who openly admit to reviewing papers and knowing exactly who the author is. In fact, most people I meet say they have done this.

The other problem is even if early career persons go through all the work of blinding their paper, they are likely still at a disadvantage. The biggest disadvantage is that other people have papers reviewed by persons who know their identity, and this knowledge serves them in a positive way. So the only way for "unknowns" in philosophy to even break even is to have their own papers sent out to others who know them and view them favorably. In the end, I think we should get rid of blind review. It is a facade that protects the well-off and gives them grounds to argue their high position in the field is justified. This is not to say that many of those in high philosophical positions aren't worthy or are bad people. But on the other hand professional philosophy is very far from a pure meritocracy.

Lastly, I will add that not all papers published are bypass the blind review process. My guess is that at least half of papers published are blindly reviewed in the right sort of way. So it is possible for unknowns to overcome their situation and publish in high places, it is just much harder for them than for those with connections.

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