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I submitted a manuscript to a journal. As it was required, I included a list of suggested reviewers. Of course, I don't know who of them have been selected by the editor. I haven't received any reviews yet. Several weeks have passed since the submission.

The problem is that I forgot whom I suggested as a reviewer. These were some people from my field and I have alerts on Google Scholar that notify me about their new papers. Recently, I got such an alert about someone's new paper. I found it interesting (but not really related to the topic of my submitted manuscript) so I wrote an email to the author. (I only met him once at a conference.) I thought that he found something similar to what I saw in a paper of yet another author. We exchanged a few emails. The discussion was totally unrelated to my manuscript.

Only after that discussion I realized he might have been a reviewer of my submitted manuscript. So I wonder whether it is OK to contact someone who may be my reviewer? The review process is blind so I never know for sure.

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    Note that some editorial management systems allow you to view your submissions after submission, so you could find out, whom you suggested as reviewer. – Wrzlprmft Aug 18 '14 at 11:27
  • Yes, and this is precisely what I forgot about! :\ – harrypotter Nov 2 '14 at 10:23
  • "Is it OK to contact someone who may be my reviewer?" Anybody may be your reviewer, regardless of your suggestions. – Andreas Blass Nov 2 '17 at 1:16
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The world of academia is small enough so that you'll likely get to know most (or all!) reviewers for your work. You can't be expected to stop communicating with your colleagues, just because one of them could be reviewing one of your papers right now.

So yes, go and discuss.

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    This is of course the right answer. Just to add: you can (and should) talk to whoever you want, but (not that the OP is suggsting this in the slightest) one should not fish for clues about who your reviewer might be. – Pete L. Clark Aug 18 '14 at 12:32
  • I don't think the answer is a simple "yes" here. It would depend on the situation. Imagine if one day you get a friendly email from someone you haven't heard of before, asking about one of your papers. Then a couple of days later you get a request from a journal to review a new paper of this very same person. Would you believe it was just a coincidence? How would you react? I'm not saying this necessarily applies to the OP's situation, but I'd be cautious and try to avoid such misunderstandings. – Szabolcs Aug 18 '14 at 14:50
  • @Szabolcs The academic world is small. You're being asked to review the paper because the journal editor thinks you're an expert in its field. The author contacted you because they think you're an expert in their field. The views of the editor and author on who are the experts in the field are likely to be quite similar. So coincidence is actually a very likely explanation. – David Richerby Aug 18 '14 at 21:52
  • @DavidRicherby Whether that is true depends on the field. I started in a field where it was true then switched to one which is large enough that the coincidence would be unlikely. – Szabolcs Aug 18 '14 at 22:24
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    One could also be up-front about where one got the other person's name, when contacting them about something else. – Dronz Aug 19 '14 at 4:30

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