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I acknowledge people who have given me written feedback by name, and then I'll thank audiences at the departments/conferences where I presented the paper.

Joona Räsänen

I agree with Marcus. You should thank the participants of the conference in this case.

Some of you might want to know that I have also argued that scholars should thank those reviewers who reject your paper but who gave you good feedback and suggestions so that eventually you manage to get your paper in another journal. And many editors and editorial board members seem to agree with us. You can read our open access paper 'Should Acknowledgments in Published Academic Articles Include Gratitude for Reviewers Who Reviewed for Journals that Rejected Those Articles?': https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/theo.12310

PS. Marcus, there seem to be two identical posts on this topic at the moment in the blog, maybe you can remove the other?

anonymous postdoc

I have a related question. I recently published a paper that was presented in larger form at two workshops. There are two other papers that I am currently writing that are spin-offs from the feedback and conversations I had from those workshops. Should I acknowledge the participants again in those other two papers (should they become published)?


I think Marcus correctly described the social norm: "one should acknowledge any people (including audiences) you can recall who heard or read any version of the paper who might have influenced your thinking leading to the final product." It doesn't matter how your thinking changed for this purpose. For instance, in my own case, I frequently acknowledge my dissertation committee who gave me feedback on my dissertation, even if the papers published from the dissertation changed greatly since they read it.

On a slightly different matter, Joona Räsänen writes, "scholars should thank those reviewers who reject your paper but who gave you good feedback and suggestions." What if reviewers accept my paper but give me terrible feedback and suggestions? Should I still acknowledge them then? Are acknowledgments function to merely identify those who helped changed the paper or those who changed the paper in a positive way?

Daniel Weltman

@anonymous postdoc: Sure, why not? I don't see any reason to be stingy with acknowledgements. Anyone who helped the paper should get acknowledged and they helped those papers.


Somewhat related, but I once got thanked for comments in the acknowledgments of a friend's paper that I had never read, heard, or even knew existed. I figure he thought "*Maaaaybe* I talked to so-and-so about this paper, even if I can't remember, and if so, I don't want to omit them." Might be a rule of thumb worth following

Assistant Professor

Re: PT's comment - there are norms in some other fields that an author should attest to having obtained permission from those they include in acknowledgements. This might be a way to make sure you are not named as contributing to a paper you don't recall ever even being aware of, but also might limit people's ability to name-check the Big Deal Philosopher who happened to be in the room at their APA talk (and maybe asked a question) if they would have to follow up with that person to request their approval to be named in acknowledgements.

My own norm is to acknowledge those who read drafts, contributed substantively to my ideas through discussion, and the audiences of conferences or workshops at which I presented work that ended up in the paper (though I might forget to do this when I presented a tangential idea at a conference that made its way into an eventual paper). If the paper underwent an R&R I acknowledge the reviewers, but I am not systematic about this and if I am not otherwise including an acknowledgements sections then I don't add one just to thank the anonymous reviewers but I would identify a specific contribution a reviewer made in a footnote (i.e. "thank you to the reviewer who pressed me on this point" kind of thing).

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