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Some journals such as the IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems (randomly picked) require a biography and sometimes also a photo of the paper authors.

Currently I have the case that a co-author working in the industry does not want this. He says (and I can totally understand this) that he does not want that possible future companies will find a photo of him when using a search engine. He also does not like the biography part but would accept this, if there is no other solution.

Question: Is it uncommon to ask the Editor-in-chief whether the biography and/or photos may be omitted? The journal would be a perfect match so that I do not want to pick another one just because of this.

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Rather than trying to determine whether it is common or not to get the EiC involved in this matter, I would like to suggest that you ask a more "productive" question: are there established ways of handling the case when a co-author does not want to include a bio and a photo? The answer to this question, as far as the IEEE is concerned, is "yes."

Next to the author's name, simply state:

Randy D. Fuddles, photograph and biography not available at the time of publication.

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Actually, you can find this in IEEE Editorial Style Manual: James A. Author (S’xx—M’xx), photograph and biography not available at time of publication. – scaaahu Mar 1 at 12:34
    
actually I've seen this in paper I was reading few days ago – Andrei Mar 1 at 21:34

I can't really say that I "get" the concern of the co-author here, but I am aware that different people have dramatically different views on privacy than I do.

In general, this is definitely a question that you can ask the Editor-in-Chief without concern. However, depending on how many submissions the journal in question gets, it is possible that the EiC may be rather uncompromising upfront. For some top-level journals, submissions are a dime a dozen, and I have seen editors that see little need to engage in potentially time-consuming discussions with authors prior to even seeing an acceptable manuscript. Hence they may just point to an existing policy if there is one, without much further thought.

Hence, another possibility would be to just submit the paper regularly, and delay the problem until the paper proofing phase. If your paper is deep enough into the process that the question actually becomes urgent, it seems exceedingly likely that the editor and/or responsible persons from the publisher's side will be willing to compromise over such a triviality rather than reject the paper. For instance, they could allow your co-author to have a placeholder rather than his photo, and/or have a very short bio text along the lines of "Dr XY is currently a research engineer at GoodStuff Inc. For privacy reasons, no other information is given."

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It should be noted that there are tons of IEEE papers where author picture and biography are missing because the author didn't provide them on time for publication. It is probably a requirement not strictly enforced. – Massimo Ortolano Mar 1 at 11:30
    
My vague recollection from the last time I published in an IEEE journal is the bio stuff only comes in at final submission. – Jon Custer Mar 1 at 13:40
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Would anyone know how this can be handled in Elsevier journals? I have a similar case with a computer science paper and Future Generation Computer Systems (the Elsevier journal) – avdo rian Mar 3 at 6:55

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