Reviewing papers seen at a conference?

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In our May “how can we help you?” thread, a reader asks:

I am working on a paper on a topic in a very narrow area. Except a few people who have interests in this area, I feel that most potential readers hold some negative attitudes toward this area (for example, many do not appreciate questions in this area; some dislike the philosophical methodology that is used in this area).

My question is: should I present this paper at conferences that those who are sympathetic to my view will probably attend? I feel that I will get some helpful feedback. But I worry that those people will be automatically disqualified as my future reviewers since they will know who the author is when they see the paper.

A related question: I always assume that if I know who the author of a manuscript is, I should not review it whether I personally know the author or not. Is this the case? I honestly feel that some papers were so widely presented that most people who were interested in those topics had known who the authors are. Were those papers really reviewed by people who have not heard about them at all?

These are good questions. Another reader submitted the following reply:

You can referee papers that you heard before – the key is to avoid conflicts of interest. Do not referee papers by your supervisor, your students, post docs, or your colleagues. Further, if you know you are predisposed against a paper because you heard it is bets to decline. Paper deserve a fair shot.

What do you all think? Should the OP present their paper at conferences? And is it really okay to review a paper you’ve seen at a conference? Even if you think you can “avoid conflicts of interest”, doesn’t this compromise the point of anonymized review, which is to prevent conflicts of interest that people cannot necessarily reliably avoid on their own?

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More

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