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I am considering submitting to a journal that only does double blind peer review.

As I have no experience with this kind of review process I have a question. I removed any direct reference to the author information (name, address, email address, affiliation and so on). However, the paper deals with an extension of a numerical code that I previously developed, so it is overtly clear from the manuscript and from references to my previous works that I am the author. There’s no way to remove these self-citations without making the discussion poorly referenced and extremely vague. And besides citations, the paper is clearly part of the same activity as the previous ones. ‘‘Hiding’’ this would be impossible and is certainly not in the interest of the readers, as the clarity of the paper would inevitably suffer.

I have no particular interest in having a double blind review, I am considering that journal because it fits my work and has an excellent impact factor.

However, I can consider other journals if this may be a problem or ground for rejection. Do you think this may be the case?

EDIT: I know there are similar questions, but this time it is not about some little giveaways. The paper would not survive without putting it into its context, and that's what mainly reveals who the author is.

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    The generic recommendation is to switch from "previously, we [Neutroshock et al., 2020]" to "previously, there was [Neutroshock et al., 2020]", or in other words "refer to own works in a third person", not that it would be a universal remedy. Sep 29, 2020 at 21:49
  • Thank you, Oleg, I followed your suggestion and submitted it.
    – NearIR
    Sep 29, 2020 at 22:40

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You know the luggage locks people buy for their suitcases when travelling? They look good, they're reassuring to have, they supposedly deter people from stealing the suitcase because they can't open it. But it shouldn't be surprising that they are ineffective: after all, to open the suitcase in spite of the lock, all one needs to do is cut up the suitcase with a knife. Sure, that ruins the suitcase, but the thief probably only cares about what is inside the suitcase.

Double blind peer review is similar. It looks good, it's reassuring, it supposedly remove bias from the peer review process. But the fact is that if the reviewer really wants to, they can probably deduce your identity regardless of how you diligently you anonymize the paper, especially with the aid of search engines like Google. The journal probably knows this too, in fact I'd bet that one of the reasons double-blind peer review hasn't become the industry standard is because people question the benefits for the amount of work one has to invest.

So I would not worry about it: anonymize the obvious things, remove explicit self-references (such as saying "[neutroshock did this]" as opposed to "we did this"), and submit it.

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  • Thank you! Submitted :)
    – NearIR
    Sep 29, 2020 at 22:39
  • Very funny comparison, +1. Actually one of my co-authors once was so meticulous at making our identity as authors disappear that some well-meaning referee chastised us for not giving the originators of the line of research (ourselves) enough credit. That was sad and funny at the same time. Sep 30, 2020 at 0:30

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