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Richard Y Chappell

Just write the paper as if you are another person who shares the view of the original author. No need to write clunky things like "Here's what [my name] could say..." Just go with, "We [proponents of this view] may reply..."


I second (or third?) the recommendation to write in the third person.

To make a further recommendation, it may be better to not frame the dispute as 'Author A [you] says this; but Author B say that.' You could re-frame the dispute over what thesis is true. So instead of having many sentences like 'One could say...' or 'The original author would say this...' You can say things like, 'If the view proposed in such-and-such paper is correct, then...' This might reduce stilled phrases. (And, in general, I think it is better for us to frame disputes in terms of what views or theses are true and not what one person could/would say to another.)


Ask the editor of the journal how you should proceed. I did and the editor said I can write it in the first person, so I did and they published my reply.

Was once a grad student

I'm the reader who posted the original question. Thank you for hosting the discussion, Marcus, and to those who've shared their thoughts.

I think I'll start with your strategy, JR. Then, if the editor recommends writing the paper in the third person, I'll do so, keeping in mind the advice of Richard and Tim above.


I would say things like “X’s critique or response is not compelling because....” or “X argues that P. However, [insert counter-argument or counter-example without referencing yourself].”

The phrase: “The original author would say Y” is awkward to me unless it’s a historical figure like Aristotle. Be assertive and straightforward by putting a counter critique or response without referencing yourself. If I’m writing a response to a response, then I’m putting forward my *own* response even though I know that the original author would agree with me.

I do this to give myself credit for my own thinking and not to the original author since it is my work. I’m giving myself credit for my own thinking. Take ownership of your idea even if it’s something the original author would agree with. If it’s a response to a response of *my* work, then I’ll do the same. The only difference in this case is to stay anonymous and not to hint that I am the original author. I’m making them think I’m a third party.


If the author made a strawman fallacy of your original article or argument(s), then it would be appropriate to reference yourself. For example, you can write: ”X claimed that P. However, they are mistaken because A stated Q.”

Just make sure you indicate that your paper is a response to a response to the original paper. You can say, ”X’s article [title] is a response to A’s article [title] arguing that P. In this article, I argue that X’s response is not compelling or convincing because of B, C, and D.”

all is fair

One thing worth mentioning, and probably this is more relevant to previous discussions of this issue on the blog rather than the current post to which I am responding, is that communicating that you (whoever you are!) have *other* publications can help your cause. So this is in general preferable to citing your own work explicitly but hiding that it is *your* work.

Why is communicating that in your favor? Because it shows your referee(s) that you have had work published before. This might nudge them towards an R&R.

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