JPhil to implement double-blind review procedure

The Journal of Philosophy has implemented a major change in how it handles submissions. From its website:

All manuscripts should be thoroughly prepared for double-blind refereeing, with any and all revealing references to the author removed, including personal acknowledgments. Any submission which does not adequately take steps to conceal the identity of its author will not be read.

I’d say this is a welcome development.

(H/T: Anon commenter on Leiter’s blog.)


JPhil to implement double-blind review procedure — 8 Comments

  1. Double blind is a real step forward and it will be interesting to see what the results are over time. The directions they post for preparing the manuscript for submission are what I think people should do as a matter of course for all submissions to journals.

  2. Certainly a step in the right direction and something that other journals should institute. I think that with double blind review, editors will still know the identity of an author. (Maybe I’m wrong about that, but doesn’t double blind just mean that the author doesn’t know the identity of the referees and the referees aren’t told the identity of the author?) Maybe we can push for blinder review still!

    Now, if we could just speed up review times. A friend of mine who desires anonymity said it took 17 months to receive his verdict. It’s hard for junior folk to send work to them knowing the odds, the high standards of the journal, and the average time of review given tenure clock/the pressure to land a tenure track job.

  3. Clayton,
    I take ‘double blind’ to mean that neither the editors nor the referees know the author’s identity (or at least that reasonable steps are taken to make this true). What you are calling “double blind” is what I take to be standard practice at most journals as things stand. Maybe I’m misled about the terms, but I think I’m using them in the standard way.

  4. Jon: As you may recall, I’m not sold on in-house editing (the editing being done by some members of a single phil. dept.) being bad–or even generally worse than “out-house” editing. But in-house *refereeing*–the bulk of the refereeing being done all by members of one dept.–does seem somewhat more problematic. I don’t know how often JP uses outside refs.

    At any rate, I’m with Mark: This is a very good development. I think I will end my own little personal boycott of JP. (Not that I’m likely to be writing any papers to send there any time soon, but I’m sure JP will be relieved that various of the relevant conditionals about me with “he would send it to JP” as their consequents will now be true!)

  5. A double blind procedure typically involves a managing editor who knows the identities of both reviewer(s) and author, but ensures that the author does not learn the identity of the reviewer, and that no reviewer learns the identity of the author. On some online systems that handle editorial discussions, reviewers may discover the identity of other reviewers. But I’ve only seen this type of online system so far in computer science.

    Interestingly, some journals are experimenting with triple blind reviewing. Although you might think this would refer to a procedure that separated the managing editor from the deciding editor and blinded the decision maker from seeing the identities of some or all in the paper trail, The Journal of Spurious Correlations is experimenting with the option of a triple blind procedure that is designed to hide the identity of authors of (some) published articles from the reading public. Why? In some disciplines negative results are less accepted and professionally risky, so the editors there are experimenting with publishing negative results (counter-examples, basically) anonymously until it catches on.

  6. Greg,

    So it looks like I was wrong about what double blind review means. In which case I guess the policy is a step forward for JP, but not a step beyond what many/most journals are now doing anyway as I understand it. I had thought that double blind meant that the editor or associate editor handling the submission also did not know the identity of the author.

  7. The structure of the editorial board suggests that only the managing editor will know the identity of authors, since the editorial board does (or is responsible for) the reviewing. Perhaps this should be clarified on the JP site.

    Regarding the issue of in-house editing, time for review, and editorial comments, this statement is relevant from here:

    A majority of papers submitted to us are reviewed by the members of our editorial board; usually two but sometimes as many as five or six internal readings can take place depending on the manuscript. Manuscripts are sent outside our board for refereeing under a variety of conditions and circumstances, but always if a manuscript is deemed to be outside the competency of our board members or if there is a conflict of interest. Please note that, due to the high volume of manuscripts being submitted, we do not promise to send editorial comments unless we hold a paper longer than six months[.]

    Finally, notice also that the editorial group includes consulting editors that are not affiliated with Columbia University.

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