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Sunday, June 26, 2011

How to be an Ethical Journal Referee

I just uploaded a popular paper to my website, entitled "How to be an Ethical Journal Referee".


Paul Allonby said...

The work of the reviewer can seem like a thankless task (depending on the workload!). Your guide makes it that little bit easier :)

Brit Brogaard said...

Thank you for your comment, Paul. I am happy if it can help.

Sennaya Swamy said...

Treating every one equally is the secret behind it

Anonymous said...

I wonder if you have any views about whether authors ought to bring it to journal editors' attention if they discover a referee has googled passages from their paper in an attempt to uncover the author's identity? I don't think this issue has been brought up in discussions of refereeing, but it is a practice I think should definitely stop and making a bit of noise when it happens is perhaps one way to for that to happen. If I were an editor I would certainly want to know if my referees were breaking blind review practice, but I imagine some editors might not be very concerned about this practice and that it may bias them against the author if the latter were to make a stink to them about it.

Jason Hills said...

Dr. Brogaard,

Excellent comments and suggestions. I had the fortune to be a managing editor and to handle the review process as a graduate student. I wish that all philosophers, probably all academics, had that experience to understand the reality of it.

Brit Brogaard said...

Thanks, Jason. @anonymous: There is no surefire way to find out if a referee Googled the paper title or passages from the paper to establish the author's identity.

If a referee were to write "since the author is only a graduate student... " in his report, I would be suspicious. But referees don't usually say these kinds of things.

You can protect yourself against this practice by keeping your paper off your website or by re-naming it until it's accepted for publication.

But as you say, referees might Google passages rather than titles, and renaming the paper doesn't protect against that.

In my opinion, the best thing a young author can do is to upload their paper to Google Doc. This allows them to control the share settings. There is a setting that allows people with the link to view the paper but the paper won't show up in Google searches.

This is not a guarantee that a reviewer won't find the paper but at least it wouldn't show up in a Google search, and people who want to check out your website can still use the link on your page to get to the paper.

Brit Brogaard said...

Further discussion of these issues can be found here:

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU. This is great.