I'm writing a contribution for a double-blind submission system.

Since I would like to supply more data than I could show on a small number of pages, I'm looking for a way to reference supplemental data in my manuscript, such as software scripts, figures or databases.

I could upload on GitHub, RPubs, Figshare and Zenodo, but all of these would expose my real user name (and I don't feel like making a throwaway e-mail account with a new repository for every anonymous publication that I intend to write).

Is there any way to get the above services to do what I want? Or is there a similar service that would allow anonymous hosting of research data?

It would be even better if I could later (e.g. after publication) declassify the information, with the link from the manuscript still being intact.

  • This sounds like a question whose answer is "arxiv". But I assume you are in a science which does not see that as an option? I think you should specify the science then, as it does matter. Jan 23, 2015 at 16:12
  • It's computer science, more specifically multimedia and user experience. Can you elaborate on why arxiv would not be an option?
    – slhck
    Jan 23, 2015 at 16:37
  • 1
    I am not saying that! I am saying that if arxiv is an option (and arxiv is an option at least in the mathematical parts of computer science, so this is worth a try), then arxiv is an answer. You can upload your ancillary along with the actual paper on arxiv. Jan 23, 2015 at 20:14

5 Answers 5


If an author is very concerned about keeping their data private and anonymous until the last moment before publication, the workflow would be like this:

  1. The authors deposit their data in a private repository while they are finalizing the manuscript, before submission. They ensure that the documents and files they upload to the repository do not have their names on them.

  2. The authors obtain a 'view-only' link from the repository. This link will give anyone access to their private repository in a way that hides the repository metadata so that the authors of the repo are not visible to people using this link.

  3. The authors insert this view-only link into the text of their manuscript, for example in the data availability statement. Then they submit their manuscript for peer review. Their data remains private on the repository.

  4. Anyone with the manuscript, such as the editor and peer reviewers, can click on the 'view-only' link in the paper to download the data. The peer reviewers can anonymously inspect the data on the repository, and they do not see the names of the authors on the repository.

  5. Once the paper is accepted, the authors switch their data repository from private to public, and the 'view-only' link is removed from the manuscript, and replaced with the DOI to the public repository of the data. The editor or copyeditor checks that the paper now has a DOI, because the 'view-only' links typically expire after a few months.

The repositories that I know support this workflow are:

There may be others I don't know about!

  • OSF link: "The page you were looking for doesn't exist" Feb 14, 2020 at 3:09
  • 1
    @JohnVandivier Thanks, fixed it now, new page is here: help.osf.io/hc/en-us/articles/…
    – Ben
    Feb 15, 2020 at 22:35
  • 1
    For Zenodo, you can get a closer match to the Figshare/OSF approach by using the "Restricted access" option and then requesting a link yourself (source and more details github.com/zenodo/zenodo-docs-user/issues/56). Zenodo will not disclose uploading user, so putting "anonymous" as author of the Zenodo record, should work for hiding your identity. Jun 22, 2023 at 16:09

What you could do is to host your data on Dropbox. When you try to share a file, you will get a link that you can put into the paper. It seems as if the recipient of the link has no way to see the dropbox user account name/e-mail address of the person who shared it. After acceptance of the publication, you could move the file to your institutional website.

Equally important, when using Dropbox it will be clear for the reviewer that you cannot see any server logs -- if you referred to a link on a server that you manage on your own, you could use the information to de-anonymize the reviewer (to some extent).

Other cloud service providers may also be suitable. I have no experience with them, though.

EDIT: This answer is indeed partially outdated, as noted in a comment to this answer. If you open the shared link anonymously in a browser, then you can click on any shared file and on the right hand-side click on "File Information". This shows the sharer's name. It may be necessary to open a new Dropbox account with a proxy name.


Most journals allow (and even expect) you to upload supplementary data with your submission, which can be accessed by the reviewers. If you are submitting to a journal, this is the best way to make it accessible as part of the reviewing package, as well as to ensure long-term storage of an archival copy of the relevant data.

On the other hand, if you are submitting to a conference (which typically have strict page limits and discourage supplementary information), it is often considered sort of cheating to have your paper depend critically on supplementary information. The reviewers would be acting reasonably if they did not choose to read your supplementary information in any case. I would thus recommend for a blinded submission to not include it, but instead say "[link omitted for blinding]" in place of the archival URL you will use for the final submission.

  • In this case, it's a conference. As mentioned in my question, I consider the data supplemental. It's not strictly needed to understand the paper or any of the conclusions therein, but just a nice-to-have addon for both interested readers and reproducible research.
    – slhck
    Jan 23, 2015 at 15:27
  • @slhck Since it's not needed for the reviewers, I would recommend leaving the links out for the initial submission, then putting them in for the camera-ready.
    – jakebeal
    Jan 23, 2015 at 15:29

If you don't need the reviewer to see the data during review, you can use zenodo's reserve doi feature. Here you can reserve a doi (so you can put the url in the paper) but it's not public untill you decide the publish the data so anyone following the url doesn't know who reserved the doi (untill you want them to).


If your "supplemental data" can fit in a Github repository, you could use Anonymous GitHub, which allows you to create links to browse the contents of a Github repository while making it anonymous and censoring certain information.

It doesn't work with files larger than 8 MB, so this is mostly intended for code rather than large datasets.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .