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Peter Furlong

I definitely agree with Marcus on this. The redacted approach in cases like this just feels like the author is following the letter of the law while disregarding its spirit.

Plus, if you go with the third-person route, you can see how many referees accuse you of misinterpreting your own earlier papers. Such cases are always fun. (Snark aside, such things can be helpful in seeing how your own work might be misinterpreted by others.)

Illusion of Terra

I agree, citing yourself in the third person is what I have seen done so far as well and it seems to make the most sense.
A related but different thing is whether you have to write 'I' or 'we' throughout the text, not when citing someone. I have seen colleagues who decided to use 'we' even though it was only one author. But I never really got the reasoning behind it.

Trevor Hedberg

Citing yourself in the third person is definitely the way to go. Speaking in part as a reviewer, it's definitely the best way to maintain blind review because your work appears the same as any other citation. In this manner, your self-citation is effectively concealed in plain sight. Redacted references, as others have mentioned, only serve to draw undue attention to what's being omitted and can inadvertently give away one's career status (or at least create assumptions about it).


Trevor I've done that before and then I'm told by the editor to remove the citation because I'm the author...

Nicolas Delon

@Amanda. Me too. Many journals explicitly prohibit self-referencing citations, by which they mean any occurrence of identifying information in the manuscript. I've often gone with the redacted solution because this is what I've seen in many papers I've reviewed and what editors require. But I've also omitted self-citations completely because neither solution seemed appropriate (in both cases it would have been easy to find out I was the author). In some cases you can add the citation after acceptance, but in others it's frustrating because you want to tell referees you've argued for one of the premises elsewhere.


Thanks for the comments, everyone. I guess I will go third-person since most of the comments lean that way!

(Although based on Amanda's report it doesn't seem like editors/referees have a uniform policy about what they prefer here...)


Nicolas: yeah, having argued for one of the premises elsewhere is another reason the blind review system is problematic. It is very common for work to build upon and respond to past work, but these papers have a fundamental conflict with blind review. It really seems a case where a large percentage of the time the choices are (1) have a reviewer who knows or strongly suspects they know the author, (2) have a reviewer who is not really an expert in the area, or, (3) go way out of your way to keep it anonymous which hurts the quality of the paper.

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