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My friend who is a senior lecturer says it is wrong to submit a paper with acknowledgements and you should add them once the paper is accepted, not to interfere with the review process. Is this correct?

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Is it fine to submit a paper with acknowledgements in it?

There are two possibilities:

  • If the review is double-blind, then no -- you should remove the acknowledgements section prior to submission. This is because usually, this section would reveal something about the author's identities. See here for why it is OK to not acknowledge grants/funding at this stage.

  • If the review is not double-blind, then it doesn't really matter. However, personally I would wait until after review to add acknowledgements, because one of the people I would always thank is the reviewers. It would be strange to submit the paper to review with

    we thank the reviewers for their helpful comments

    when they have not actually written those comments yet! If worried about space limitations (as in the thread here), then you can write the acknowledgements, but comment them out prior to submission.

My friend who is a senior lecturer says it is wrong to submit a paper with acknowledgements and you should add them once the paper is accepted, not to interfere with the review process. Is this correct?

Overall, I agree this is correct. But it is not a serious matter, and different people may have different ideas about this.

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  • I disagree that it doesn't really matter. I agree acknowledgements would reveal something about the author's identities, but don't consider them particularly revealing, that said, it depends how they are written and what they include – user2768 Apr 2 at 10:54
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    @user2768 If you don't consider them particularly revealing, then why do you disagree with the answer? +1 to your answer btw. When I say "it doesn't really matter" I just mean that it's not a big deal. Personally I would leave them out as well. – 6005 Apr 2 at 12:58
  • I think it can matter for the reasons given in my answer. That said, it's not a big deal, albeit, friction can be caused with some reviewers, which is something we all like to avoid! Nonetheless +1 – user2768 Apr 2 at 13:25
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Read the author's guidelines of the journal. I know this may be different for different fields but I have seen journals specifically instruct that you have to mention funding source at the end of the paper, in the acknowledgment section. So, it's better you check the guidelines first. If the journal is double-blind, it will instruct accordingly.

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  • I have seen journals specifically instruct that you have to mention funding source at the end of the paper for review or before publication? – user2768 Apr 2 at 10:53
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    I have not seen any journal specifically mentioned anything about before or after. Actually this thing never came to my mind before seeing this post. My supervisor told me to write the acknowledgment part before reviewing and he did all his life. I don't think this is a big deal. – metastable Apr 2 at 13:42
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Is it fine to submit a paper with acknowledgements in it?

Your acknowledgements may signal favor/support/etc. from those acknowledged, which could influence reviewers. Any such influence is avoided by omitting acknowledgements until after review.

Even when acknowledgements have no such influence, some reviewers may perceive their inclusion as an attempt to bias the reviewing process, which works against you.

That's perhaps why a senior lecturer says it is wrong to submit a paper with acknowledgements.

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