Anonymous refereeing: some evidence

I’ve argued before that philosophy journals should all take up fully anonymous refereeing.  (Actually, I’ve argued that papers’ authors should also be unknown to the editor, but this doesn’t address that.) Here‘s some evidence that this is a good idea.  (Via The F-Word.)  It seems anonymous reviewing is only rarely practised in ecology and evolution journals.  But Behavioural Ecology recently decided to take it up.  They found a significant increase in acceptance of papers by women after the change, and there were apparently no negative effects.  (The article uses the widely employed term ‘double-blind’.  If you want to know the reasons I am now using ‘anonymous’ instead, check out the discussion in the comments here.) 


5 thoughts on “Anonymous refereeing: some evidence

  1. In the post above, Jender notes that she no longer uses the term ‘blind’ to refer to a type of anonymous refereeing, offering a link to the discussion on this blog in which I argued that such use of the term discriminates against blind people and delegitimizes disabled philosophers. While that discussion focused only on how the term ‘blind’ is used by philosophy journals, I would like to point out that this unacceptable use of the term ‘blind’ is also used in most cfps for conferences. In particular, both the American Philosophical Assoc and the Canadian Philosophical Assoc employ some variation of this language in the cfps for their annual conferences (which can be found on their respective websites), despite official statements by both that they oppose and do not promote practices that discriminate against disabled people. Over the last several years, I have tried to draw this blatant discrimination against disabled philosophers to the attention of various people with influence in both organizations. These challenges have not been taken seriously, have been dismissed, or ignored. If you would like this practice to stop, please write to the Executive Director of the APA, David Schrader (, and the President of the Canadian Philosophical Assocation, Will Sweet (, demanding that the language used in their cfps be revised. Perhaps if these people are barraged with emails about the current state of affairs, something will be done about it.

  2. This comment is a follow-up to my comment above on discriminatory language in the cfps of the two major North American philosophical associations… I thought that some readers of this blog might be interested to know the outcomes of my most recent attempt to have this language revised.

    Earlier in the week, Will Sweet, the President of the CPA, informed me that he would take the matter to the next board meeting of the CPA. Below I have copied correspondence I received yesterday from David Schrader, the Executive Director of the APA. This is very good news!

    —– Original Message —–
    From: David Schrader
    To: ‘Shelley Tremain’
    Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2008 3:27 PM
    Subject: RE: Why does the APA discirminate against blind people?

    Dear Professor Tremain,

    Thanks you for your note. This is the first time, as far as I know, that this issue has been brought to our attention. I have just contacted the staff person who works with paper submission and suggested to her that we replace the term ‘blind’ with the term ‘anonymous’.

    Most sincerely,

    David Schrader


    From: Shelley Tremain []
    Sent: Sunday, February 03, 2008 2:37 PM
    To: dschrade@UDel.Edu
    Subject: Why does the APA discirminate against blind people?

    Dear David Schrader,

    as a member of the APA, I am deeply disappointed that the APA continues to use discriminatory language in the official cfps for its annual conferences which are posted on its website and distributed in hard copy. I am referring to the use of the term ‘blind’ to signify a form of refereeing in which the reviewer does not know the identity of the author(s). This equation of blindness with not knowing, not having knowledge, not having knowledge of something discriminates against blind people and delegitimizes disabled philosophers. It is especially troubling that the APA continues to tacitly endorse this form of injustice, despite the fact that an official statement of the association indicates that it opposes and does not promote discimination against disabled people. The APA must put an end to the current state of affairs by revising the language its uses in its cfps.

    For a fuller explanation of the problem, go here:

    and here:

    Best regards,

    Shelley Tremain

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