Anonymity has the advantage of removing unnecessary bias. It draws the reader's attention on the subject without allowing it to check the authors' affiliations out. Public display of authors' names and affiliations seems to only be a source for prejudice. Anonymity would be advantageous to the peer review process, too. Authors could still be registered with the editor and would remain in any case responsible for what they write.

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    What would be the point of anonymity? Why make scientific publishing more like Facebook? Conspiracy anyone?
    – Buffy
    Commented May 14, 2022 at 11:53
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    One more reason that Buffy did not cover: why would anyone spend time on doing intense and difficult research, only to disappear behind a screen and with nothing to show for their efforts, not even a boost for their ego if not their career? With anonymous publication, you will mostly get shallow and fast responses, with perhaps some interspersed gems of quick clever insights, or standard textbook wisdom a la Papyrus Rhind. I would even venture so far as to claim (without proof) that maybe the rise of systematic research may be linked to the emergence of rules on authorship and plagiarism. Commented May 14, 2022 at 13:54
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    Nothing stops one from using a pseudonym. But use it consistently.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented May 14, 2022 at 15:16

1 Answer 1


This won't, and probably can't, be a complete listing of the reasons that almost all scientific papers are and should be associated publicly with their authors. I'll try to list reasons in the rough order of importance, but even that is hard.

If I know that an author has been writing valid papers in the past, it eases my burden of personally vetting the current one.

If I don't know the authors, then I have to depend on the complete validity and accuracy of the publisher's process, which was done by people who I also don't know.

The likelihood of collusion would be expected to increase if the public doesn't know authors but editors and reviewers do. This might be ameliorated somewhat if reviewer names were attached to papers instead of author names, but that has its own problems.

Plagiarism might be expected to increase with anonymity and might be difficult to check. "I wrote that" can be disputed by an editor, but that requires a separate process that might interfere with some other policies, such as confidentiality. The editor can't, for example, say "No, John and Mary wrote that" as it breaks confidentiality. Claims of authorship, both valid and invalid, will likely be made, breaking anonymity along with reducing trust.

Scientific reputations would be much more difficult to build and maintain with anonymity. There would be less incentive to write if there is no public recognition and there might be more incentive to write junk if it won't come back to haunt my career.

The same would be true for university and scientific lab reputations. Who do you trust? Who do you hire?

The incentive for intentionally misleading research would be increased if no one needs to stand behind results. It is already bad enough given the history of tobacco "research".

Probably lots more reasons are evident to others, but the above is a start.

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