Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shallow thought of the day

Who's breaking the blind review process: the reviewer for finding my website or me for reverse finding them using my tracker?

--Second Suitor


Anonymous said...

Clearly, the one breaking the blind review process is the reviewer who went looking for you. Unless, that is, you emailed her/him after using your tracker. ;)

Actually, I wonder what would happen if you emailed the reviewer AND cc'd the editor of the journal.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that you have an asshat for a referee (if you do and it wasn't some coincidence). It's a shame you can't post the name of the referee and out the little dipshit for the piece of pathetic trash he or she is.

On your end, you shouldn't have posted your paper or any other interesting identifying information online. That was not smart. Don't do it again, since you now know that some referees are asshats.

Ben said...

Both of you I'd have thought, though arguably you're at least partly excused given s/he did it first and your finding them depended on their prior wrongdoing.

Anonymous said...

I know some referees (not me) who first submit their reviews and then, to satisfy their curiosity, ascertain the author of the paper via a web search. If such a referee has already recommended publication of the paper, then his or her behavior is benign: the identity of the author will appear in print later anyway (assuming the paper has a single referee and the editors respect recommendations of referees).

If the referee recommends rejecting the paper, then such behavior seems more suspicious to me. Perhaps I could be convinced otherwise.

Anonymous said...

A tangentially related question (because it's about publishing):

If one receives a rejection from a journal because the submission was not a good fit for the journal, but if said journal thinks the submission strong and recommends submitting it to another journal (and provides name[s] of suggested journals), should the author make mention of this suggestion in resending out the manuscript? Or should the author just send it out with no mention of this?


Anonymous said...

Anon 5:44,

You might send a short separate note to the editor indicating such. I'd only consider doing this if the rejecting journal is more prestigious than the one being submitted to. Also, note that at best this will help the article get past the editor/gatekeeper. It will not reach the blind reviewers.

Anonymous said...

How do you know that the person who went to your website also refereed your paper?

Anonymous said...

Journal refereeing is not blind. Just ask the editor at Philosophy and Social Criticism. They select heavily on the basis of pedigree. They even tell less well pedigreed authors that there are too many papers on X, so we must reject your paper on X. The next week they accept a paper on X by a better pedigreed author. Snooty bastards!

Anonymous said...

I think mentioning it would be tacky and might be a turn off, as if the editor of that journal can't tell whether it's a good paper and needs a tip off. Just my opinion.

About blind reviewing: a lot of times, it isn't blind simply because people have well known views.

Looking someone up is very hard to refrain from doing if you care about having knowledge. So I think it's probably especially hard for an academic not to do it.

If you don't want people to know who you are, don't post your stuff on the web.


Anonymous said...


I don't see how that would ever be appropriate. It would be similar to including a note to the editor during submission mentioning that the paper was received well at a conference

Anonymous said...

Dude. Seems to me this shit happens a lot, and that blind review is (for this and other reasons) blind far less than is acceptable. Only contributes to the stratification of the discipline, which is in my view brutally stratified as is.

Asstro said...

I'm not sure why it is a natural assumption that the referee was searching for you and your paper. If I'm refereeing a paper, I sometimes look for recent work in the area. I google key terms, then google key authors to see what they're writing about. This can help me find my footing for evaluating a piece. I think there's very little wrong with this practice, and quite a bit right. It's important for a referee to check on recent work.

If, for some reason, you've put the title of the paper that you've written up online, and if the referee stumbles on it by googling for research, and if for some reason this is a concern for you, then you have nobody to blame but yourself if your identity is discovered. On the other hand, you might also be flattered and pleased that when searching for background on your AOS, you are the one who naturally pops up.

WV: thecyb

zombie said...

"It would be similar to including a note to the editor during submission mentioning that the paper was received well at a conference."

I was actually advised to do just that by a professor once, for a paper I presented at a Hume conference. I never submitted it, however, so I cannot speak to the effectiveness of name-dropping.

Anonymous said...

5:44 here.

Thanks for the advice.

I didn't/don't think it's necessarily a good idea to say anything besides "please consider this manuscript," etc., etc., but I'm not a pro at protocol and don't simply know how these things work, like some people seem to know (anon 12:03, perhaps). Anyhow. My thinking was this: The paper was reviewed at a very good journal, not considered suitable for the aims of that journal, but was recommended to send to another journal. I know it's not a big deal, but I've never encountered this scenario before (and don't know anyone who has), so I'm just curious.

The reason I was even thinking about it (whether using the name of journal #1 or not) is to help mention why/how the manuscript might be a good fit for journal #2, which of course I can do on my own and the paper can do on its own merits, but it might be a nice and/or helpful thing to mention. Nice because journal #1 obviously respects journal #2, and helpful because, well, I imagine that it's tough to be an editor, and a tidbit might help out in some way. I recall sending a submission out a while back that said why I thought the article would be a good match for the journal, and it didn't seem to do any harm (i.e., it got published).

It was only a thought.


Anonymous said...

Anon 9:21pm:

I understand what you are trying to do and I thought about how you would put it. The only way for it not to seem pathetic and so general as to mean nothing is if you do mention the journal and the editor, but then that seems pretentious. So I don't see how it could be done well. Also, even if whatever you said the last time didn't hurt, I'll bet it didn't help either. How much time do you suppose editors spend on cover letters? In my own, I just say the title of manuscript, ask them to considerate it, and give them contact info. That is all they are looking for. Should I conclude that this helped me get published? I think the only thing you can do with a cover letter is either give required info or be annoying. I doubt that whatever you said in your cover letter even got read, let alone attended to.

On a more general note: I am always struck by our ability to assume a kind of self-importance in these matters, myself included.

Anonymous said...

A newbie ABD question: exactly what "using my tracker" should mean? What is a tracker?!

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:18AM here: I said that I ask them to considerate my manuscript. So let me revise my claim about the things you might do in writing a cover letter: you might annoy them, have no effect, or make yourself look like an ass :)

Anonymous said...

@Anon 12:56AM: I track my google page with google analytics, which can give me location of visits, number of new visits, and networks, as well as lots of other goodies. It only works if you have a google site though. I don't know how other people track their non-google sites. But it's great, because everytime I got an interview this year, I knew before they even called. I also know that I am on a lot of search committee's radars, since a lot of them looked at my page, which is also encouraging for next year, since my interviews this year went nowhere.

Christopher Gauker said...

Second Suitor, could you please elaborate a little on your answer to Anon12:56? The most you can get out of your tracker is people's location, right, which might be a specific institution if they're using an institution's server, right? So first you have to figure which of the places people check your website from is the likely home of your reviewer, and then you have to figure out which of the faculty there is the likely reviewer. So there's a lot of guesswork. Am I missing something? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Statcounter can give you the actual computer listed. If they did it from a university computer where they had to log in, sometimes you can even get the name.

Check this blog. They use both google analytics, and statcounter. The former isn't nearly as good as the latter. I believe I know at least one member of this blog b/c they looked me up after something I wrote on this blog.

Here's the deal people, be careful with your web comments, and have your own trackers.

Anonymous said...

This thread sends chills down my spine. And no doubt you can locate what spine.

I'm beginning to think that access to net information on the present scale makes privacy the next heavily patinated antique on The Road Show.

Guard your comments? Have your own trackers? We ARE doomed.

Anonymous said...

Alright, before everyone flips out about this: no one gives a fuck about us guys. Who is really going to spend their time tracking our comments? I mean WTF? I use a tracker while I am on the job market so I can have some sense of whether I am getting nibbles on the job market. That is it. I can't imagine someone wanting to track my comments for any reason, unless they are a stalker or something. Relax!

Anonymous said...

I for one believe in the general integrity of the blind review process in philosophy.

And the toothfairy.