Thanking previous referees in submissions?

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

I have a paper that was rejected from a journal, but with an unbelievably helpful referee report that is instrumental in rewriting the paper. How do I acknowledge this anonymous reviewer when I resubmit the paper to a new journal? Is it odd to acknowledge a reviewer from a previous journal’s review process in a new submission?

Good question. Another reader submitted the following reply:

[U]sually submissions should not include any acknowledgements, so then there’s no problem. Once the paper is accepted and you add acknowledgements you can acknowledge a reviewer from a previous journal.

I respectfully disagree. When I submit papers to journals, I often include acknowledgments to anonymous referees–usually in footnotes at places in the paper that have been substantially revised due to referees’ suggestions. I don’t mention which journal(s) the referees were from, as I think that could introduce biases into the review process. But I tend to thank referees because I think they deserve the acknowledgment, and because I worry that if I incorporated a ton of their feedback into the paper without acknowledging them, it might irritate them (or worse) if they are asked to review the paper again for the new journal. I’ve also never been asked to remove these kinds of acknowledgments in an initial submission precisely because they are anonymized (though if I ever were asked to remove them, of course I would). My understanding at any rate, has always been that the reason that journals ask you to “remove acknowledgments” is to preserve anonymized review and prevent bias (which might occur, obviously, if you write things like, “I thank Derek Parfit and audiences at NYU and Princeton for their feedback”).

Anyway, this is just what I do and my experience with my approach. What do you all think?

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More

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