Apologies if this has already been answered: but I could only find questions relating to paper citations and grants in relation to double-blind reviews on academia.

If you are submitting a paper to a double blind review, are you permitted to talk about the source of your data-set at length if it is not publicly available? This may include, for instance, mentioning the company name and/or country of origin.

For instance, imagine being given a data-set by IBM in its European wing and you make your paper based on this data. Is it legitimate to name the origin if you are not directly identifiable?

  • What reason could there be for not naming the origin of the data? I don't really understand what the problem is.
    – ff524
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 15:21
  • @ff524 for instance anybody one had dealings with in terms of the origin of the data would know who you are (because the data was given on an individual basis). In practice noone who would know this would be reviewing academic papers, but I was wondering if there was some technical rule that this would be violating.
    – Stumbler
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 15:25
  • I can imagine data sets like a survey of public health for a particular region, where there is only one University in that region, could make breaking the double blind fairly simple. Commented Jun 5, 2016 at 15:22
  • 1
    Another example I can think of where this is a totally understandable concern: suppose you have already written at least one paper which incorporates this data. If the data is not in the public domain, it wouldn't be too hard for referees to then conclude that at least a subset of the same authors were responsible for the double-blind submission.
    – Mad Jack
    Commented Jun 5, 2016 at 15:47

1 Answer 1


A dataset may not be publicly available, but there is no way for anybody but the owner to know who the owner may have chosen to privately share that dataset with.

As for the owner of the data: I would expect anybody who was closely involved enough to know who the data was shared with to have a conflict of interest and to therefore not be used as a reviewer. Certainly, as an editor, if I saw a paper used a proprietary data-set from IBM, I would not invite a person from IBM to be a reviewer.

As such, I would judge there to be no need to blind the origin of a dataset.

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