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I am writing a paper that continues and extends my previous paper (the usual situation), and I plan to submit it to a journal that conducts a double-blind review. It is a research that started recently, so I have only one paper published.

The published paper represents a strong foundation of the research, which means that I would have to refer to it in the new paper at least a few times (basically the new paper extends it). While the peer-review is double-blind, the reviewers would then easily realize who is the author.

Therefore, I can't just cite it as it's someone else's research because it's obvious that I am talking about a paper of mine.

How can I refer to my previous paper completely anonymously so that the reviewers cannot realize who is the author of the new paper?

I am insisting on this because I don't believe that there is such a thing as a completely unbiased peer-review process, even when double-blind. I am a new guy in the field, and I can imagine that this is where a reviewer could have prejudices. Stupid reason, but I already have an unpleasant experience with this.

I cannot cite the paper by removing the author and retaining the title, as it would take 5 seconds for a computer-literate person to find the full record.

On the bright side, while the previous paper is easily accessible, the reviewers probably would not be aware of it because it is from a conference that is not really in that field. But still, they would manage to find it with some effort.

Would it be acceptable that I mention that this paper extends my previous research that cannot be cited in order to accomplish the anonymity of a double-blind peer-review, and that the citation will be added later?

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I think there is no way to do that. If someone wants to find out who has written that paper, they will. I even know someone who is able to identify the reviewers by their style of writing / type of changes they propose. You just have to count on the person just not being interested in who you actually are or being as objective as possible. –  The Almighty Bob Jun 25 at 20:44
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This, to me, is the fundamental flaw of double-blind reviewing. If paper B builds on paper A while demonstrating a very deep understanding of A's results, it's extremely likely that the two papers were written by the same people, even if, in B, they diligently refer to the authors of "A" as "they" rather than "we". –  David Richerby Jun 25 at 23:27
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New researchers often worry about these kinds of things (biased reviewers, people stealing their work, etc.). As you become more experienced, you realise that these things are very rare. –  David Richerby Jun 25 at 23:32
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One other practice is to avoid referring to other authors as either "they" or "we", but only using their surnames. This is more feasible in some settings than others; in my field of mathematics it is often very easy to achieve with professional results (even if you talk about yourself in the third person). None of my last three papers seems to contain a "they" or "we" used to refer to authors of cited papers. There is still the issue that the author of your new paper may seem very familiar with the previous one, but there is no need to explicitly say that the previous work is yours. –  Oswald Veblen Jun 26 at 0:25
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If paper B builds on paper A while demonstrating a very deep understanding of A's results, it's extremely likely that the two papers were written by the same people — I suspect this is less likely than you think. I've read plenty of papers that built on and demonstrated very deep understanding of my work, that were not written by me (or my students). And I like to think I've done the same to other people's work. –  JeffE Jun 26 at 0:42

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up vote 19 down vote accepted

Disclaimer: I work in a field in which double-blind reviewing is either completely absent or so rare that I have never encountered it.

Would it be acceptable that I mention that this paper extends my previous research that cannot be cited in order to accomplish the anonymity of a double-blind peer-review, and that the citation will be added later?

No, I don't see how that's possible. The principle that you must cite work that you use or build on -- no less so if it's yours -- seems much more basic than your desire to get genuinely double-blind refereeing. Moreover, if a paper continues previous work, can anyone sensibly evaluate its added value without having access to that previous work? I can't see how.

I am a new guy in the field, and I can imagine that this is where a reviewer could have prejudices. Stupid reason, but I already have an unpleasant experience with this.

When you self-identify your reasoning as "stupid", there's a clear opportunity to think it through again. The process of journal submission and publication has a non-negligible random component: it would be unwarranted to assume that an experience that you had once or twice will necessarily recur. Your desire to circumvent an unfair refereeing process seems premature. If you feel like you're being treated unfairly as a new researcher, there are more productive ways to react to this: make it more clear why your work is competitive with or superior to the work done by more established researchers. I don't know of any academic field in which journals systematically don't want to publish work by new researchers that they believe is better than prior work just because those researchers are new. It is also true, unfortunately, that new researchers can overestimate (and also underestimate!) the value of their work. It is hard to hear that the thing you slaved over for months and years is not good enough for a second-rate journal in your field. But it may be true nevertheless.

Let me say finally that I see a little irony in your approach: you lament your treatment as an unestablished researcher, but you are in fact more established than most people: you have published a paper that your present work builds on. My experience is that it is much easier to publish a second paper on the same topic in a reasonable journal than a first paper, just as it is easier for an artist to sell their second painting for a reasonable price than their first. In publishing the first paper, the journal has conferred on your work the important imprimatur of publishable value. Insisting on throwing that away will probably increase your chance of receiving "anti-newbie bias" in the evaluation of your followup work!

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