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Mark van Roojen

Yes, both comments seem right to me. I think once it is out it is fine. What you don't want to do is contact the author in the middle of the process before the paper is accepted and on its way to print. Thus I think it is OK to ask an editor who wrote a paper you want to cite, once sufficient time has gone by for it to be accepted. But I'd wait for it to come out if I just wanted to talk about it.

There can be another issue. I won't agree to referee the same paper or a different journal if I was negative about it (they deserve a chance to convince someone else.) But I will sometimes agree to referee when asked by a different journal if I liked the paper the first time I saw it. (Of course one has to tell the editor one refereed it earlier and let the journal decide whether refereeing it again is appropriate.) Contacting the author in that kind of case should take you out of the running to referee it again - to the author's detriment.


I've come to think one should never out oneself to an author. I would sometimes do this in the past, if I thought the paper was really excellent. But then I read a comment on a blog (perhaps this very one) where someone suggested it can create feelings of unease about 'owing' the referee. I keep my mouth shut now... So I agree with Elizabeth.

Of course, nothing should stop you from contacting the author to say how much you like their paper.


Yeah I think one should not disclose that one was a reviewer of a paper since this is a breech of norms generally speaking. I would just wait until the paper came out to contact anyone. I once had a reviewer disclose who they were in a review they wrote, and with the editor's knowledge, but that was an unusual case and was for a special issue of a journal and not like the normal blind review process for most papers. I think one should error on the side of being conservative about these things.

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