Friday, April 07, 2006

No-so-double-blind referees 

Reader/guest blogger jw notices an article in today's Chronicle of Higher Ed about scholars learning the identity of referee reports on articles they've submitted to journals.
Keyne A. Cheshire, an assistant professor of classics at Davidson College, in North Carolina, who describes himself as new to scholarly publishing, said he recently discovered the issue by accident. After submitting an article to a journal in his field, he received a reviewer report by e-mail, forwarded from the journal's editor (he declined to name the journal or editor). The report, which Mr. Cheshire said included some "hefty criticism" of his article, arrived as a Microsoft Word file attached to the e-mail message.

When Mr. Cheshire opened the document, he noticed that it seemed to be created using a British version of Word. Curious, he clicked on the document's preferences and was surprised to see a screen labeled "Summary" that listed the name of the person who had created the document -- someone in his discipline whom he knew.
jw says he can't believe people are this naive. I'm not: Even Congressional staffers writing talking point attacks on Supreme Court justices sometimes forget to erase the evidence.

By the way, dear scholars, if you are sending a paper to a journal that does double-blind refereeing of articles (reviewer doesn't know identity of author, author doesn't know identity of reviewer), just don't send it using Word. Print it to .pdf, open the file in Adobe, hit ctrl-d for properties, and erase everything on the summary page (don't forget to save again!)

This has been a public service of SCSU Scholars. You're welcome!