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Joona Räsänen

I think referees of previous submissions (sometimes) deserve to be thanked. So I wrote a paper about it (and thanked referees that reviewed the paper for another journal). The paper is open-access and can be read here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/theo.12310

Tyler Hildebrand

There have been recent discussions about this at DailyNous.



My take: There's nothing wrong with thanking referees at other journals, but it's not the norm and people don't expect it. A simple and often satisfactory solution is to thank "anonymous reviewers" instead of "anonymous reviews at [journal that published paper]".


There is a possible risk in thanking referees at other journals when the publishing journal is recognized to be superior than the journal(s) whose referees are thanked (and perhaps also when the journals are of roughly equal prestige). The risk is being perceived as intimating something like the following to the non-publishing journals: 'you passed on this paper, but as it's forthcoming in a better journal (or perhaps, 'equally good'), you made as mistake in failing to recognize the paper's merit'.

This may be a small risk, but I think it exists. (I've not read the Räsänen paper yet, and don't know if this objection is addressed.) Since the referees are nevertheless thanked (under a less determinate description) if one goes the Hildebrand route, that's the one I prefer.

elisa freschi

I have thanked previous referees for their comments on "an earlier version of this article", so as to avoid Jan's problem.


I've always assumed that thanking reviewers was just the reviewers at the journal it is published in. (After all, lots of people explicitly say '...and two anonymous reviewers of this journal.') But the DN thread indicated to me that my assumption is not universal. Regardless, I have thanked reviewers from a journal that rejected the paper, and named the journal in my acknowledgements. I did it because I was genuinely pleased with those comments, despite the reject, and I wanted the reviewers to know it if they were to stumble upon the paper.


I think there is a more natural way of thanking reviewers - and that is writing a letter and asking the journal editor to forward it - regardless of whether the paper was accepted or not.

Nicolas Delon

Jakub, that is a very nice thing to do of course, but it has little of the signaling power of public acknowledgments!


“For their helpful feedback, I’d like to thank X, Y, Z, and anonymous referees from this and another journal.”

Jonathan Ichikawa

I do this and I think it's good to do this

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