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Once the paper is under review, you could always take it down from the site hosting it. And before submitting it, you could change the title--or even refrain from giving it a title in the posted version. That'll go some way towards mitigating the concerns.

Seems to me the worst that'll happen is that the pool of potential reviewers will shrink a little. But probably not appreciably so. If my friends and friendly acquaintances posted their papers online, I might well take the time to read them and comment on them. But the odds are good that I'd have to recuse myself from reviewing them for a journal anyway, since I'm pretty familiar with their work in the first place. Slash I might not even be asked, since we work in different parts of the field or subfield.


I don't think the pool of referees will shrink. I think the odds that it will be reviewed by someone you know increases, and that might help you or hurt you depending on your popularity, I guess.If you work in a niche field, it might make it *very* likely the referee will be someone you know.

I never do it. I'm not sure why not. I think a lot has to do with my fear of someone stealing my ideas. Also, I fear someone telling me the paper is dumb, where if I put it online after publication even if they think it's dumb it has some sort of credibility.

elisa freschi

I would suggest posting drafts on Philpapers, Academia.edu etc *after* they have been published. In this way, you can reach more readers (even in countries which have no access to Jstor or to expensive journals) and get interesting comments to improve your ideas. Yes, you will not be able to change the printed version, but is this really all that matters? You will probably keep on working on similar topics and perhaps we could all relax and embrace the fact that our ideas are not final and are constantly in need of improvement.

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