Preserving Anonymity, Electronically

12 March 2007 at 11:48 pm Leave a comment

| Peter Klein |

Heard the one about the sign in the Buddhist public park: “Stay on path”?

Here’s a case where the path can get you in trouble. Nicolai and I were recently discussing the problem of preserving author anonymity when sending electronic referee reports or other documents. As many of you know, word processing programs typically preserve the author’s name and (often) affiliation as part of the document header. When submitting a manuscript or referee report in Word you should click File, Properties, Summary and delete your name and other identifying information before sending. If you convert your file to PDF, however, there is another danger. Acrobat saves the full path of the source file (e.g., the Word document used to create the PDF) under File, Document Properties, Description, Location. So even if the source file contains no identifying information, the PDF file may include something like “C:\Documents and Settings\Peter Klein\My Documents\Referee Reports\Really Bad Papers\” under Document Properties. Windows users should make sure their documents are stored in a generic location like c:\ or c:\temp before converting to PDF. If they want to preserve their anonymity, that is.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Ephemera.

Ben Klein’s Reply to Coase The History of Economic Thought is Alive and Well (Outside Economics Departments)

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