Triple-blind refereeing

Until it became too easy to find research papers on the Internet, the norm in academic publishing was to subject any journal submission to a double-blind refereeing process. The author does not know the referee, and vice-versa. Most, but not all journals have abandoned the double-blind for single-blind, as referees can figure out anyway who the author is. Well, most of the time.

And now the new concept, triple-blind refereeing, where the editor does not know who the referee is. Indeed, I got a paper to referee under my nom de plume. And I just cannot figure out who the author is.

Why would the editor choose me? Indeed, what are the chances that the paper's topic would fall in my research competences? While I do something like refereeing on this blog, and I have written on this topic, it is not like I can claim to be an expert on every topic, or even on any topic. And the paper is certainly not that bad that the editor just expects me to trash it and help get it out of the pile.

Maybe the editor could just have waited for me to discuss it here. But wait, the paper is not available on the Internet, so I would never see it. Yes, that is the ticket: the editor lost patience waiting for my comments.

Anyway, I will referee this one, just because of the unique situation. I will do my best to write a good referee report. But I cannot promise I will write more referee reports under my pen name. What would be in it for me? Writing a report anonymously to both author and referee, and the report remains forever secret, even the fact that I wrote it? And no, I will not publish it here. I do not take suggestions on what I should write about.

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