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Sort of linked to the observation Marcus has already raised, but a different spin: the OP frames this all in terms of whether a paper is their "property". But I've never worked with a journal submission system that asks me at the start if the paper is my "property".

Instead, they ask me to write down the title, a few other things, and the *names of the authors*. And it seems to me that if someone wrote a paper and "gave" it to me, and then I submitted it to a journal and listed myself as the author, I'd be lying.


I think publishing under a pseudonym is indeed the way to go. OP could perhaps also consider co-publishing with their friend, using a pseudonym for themselves and providing their friend's real name as a "corresponding author". I think this would be justified if the friend ends up investing a significant amount of work in writing down the paper etc.

I'm wondering if anyone sees issues with (co-)publishing a paper in a "regular" journal (not just the Journal of Controversial Ideas). Historically, lots of philosophers have published under pseudonyms (e.g. to criticize the church), and non-academic authors publish under pseudonyms a lot as well. But neither of these were/are bound by contemporary norms surrounding academic transparency. Would these norms prevent that? And is the possibility of viewpoint discrimination a reason to violate these norms?



You can publish it pseudonymously. You can sit on it for a while until you feel comfortable having it associated with you. You can encourage someone else to write their own paper taking the same angle on the same topic.

But you can't Cyrano de Bergerac (/sockpuppet) your paper.

(Quite apart from anything else, think of the effect it would have on your partner's career were the sockpuppeting discovered. Depending on the particulars of its use, it might even be grounds for dismissal, denial or revocation of tenure, etc.)


I see no problem at all with "giving" a paper to one's friend to publish. Presumably, the friend will respond to the referee comments (etc.), so they will do something. But even if they don't do anything, I think it's fine.

Another point: this will clearly not harm anyone. It's nothing that should keep you up at night.


@CH. This clearly will harm others. Imagine the paper lands in Phil Review. The person who did not write it would gain significant undeserved advantages. Further imagine this person is on the job market!

When I look at someone’s CV I’m guided by the norms saying they wrote the publications listed on it. What on earth would the value of a CV be if such basic authorship norms were violated?


@CH: not harm anyone? But it does/would. It would harm all the people on the market who don't have paper-giving-away friends, and have to write their own papers using their own time.

In general, I agree with the above comments: even if it did not directly harm people (although again, I think it does), it would still count as dishonesty.

Assistant Professor

Publishing norms in other disciplines often ask for specific author contribution statements (which are published as part of the paper). Perhaps it would be beneficial for philosophy and philosophy journals to do something similar, especially as co-authorship is becoming increasingly adopted in the field (which I believe to be a good thing) so that authors get proper credit for their contributions.

I could easily imagine a scenario in which two people discuss a topic and one determines they do not want to publish on it for a variety of reasons but the other asks for their permission to pursue a publication on said topic, and may even include ideas their interlocutor raised in the paper (ideally with at least some anonymized attribution in a footnote of the source). But handing someone a paper to revise and submit as their own is plagiarism, even if that person wants it submitted by the other person.


A good rule of thumb is how you treat undergrad papers. If you'd fail a sockuppeted paper for plagiarism, you shouldn't do the same yourself.

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