Monday, June 22, 2009

Leveling the playing field at journals?

An author at "" suggests, with tongue in cheek but also with a point, that we should do sextuple blind review.

In fact, we barely manage single blind review in economics; nothing is double blind any more because it is easy, as a reviewer, to Google the author of the "anonymous" paper you have received, in that fraction of cases where the author is not obvious from the subject, style and citations.

It is interesting to ponder why we do not do these things. One reason for not, for example, hiding the author's name, at least for a time, is that the author's name functions as a brand, and so helps readers to allocate scarce reading time. Leaving the author's name off would thus cause an efficiency loss for the profession. Of course, for newbies, there is no brand, so getting your papers read is harder. I do not see much way around this though.

Leaving the editors of a journal anonymous would decrease the quality of the initial match between submissions and journals. I write papers not just with specific journals in mind but specific editors. Newbies will lack the information about editors required to do this, but this is one of the things that senior colleagues (or the faculty on your committee if you are really a newbie) are supposed to provide.

Having said all that, one could write a very nice, and I would think very publishable, applied economic theory paper building on the post.