Excluding Reviewers from Reviewing Your Paper – Why & How?

Many authors choose to allow their manuscripts to not be accessible by “non-preferred reviewers,” who are specific individuals that fall under the category of people that authors don’t want them to receive their manuscripts for review.

Excluding reviewers is a common practice greatly attributed to the fact that most authors consider some individuals as an author opposed to the reviewer or because some reviewers’ criticisms seem unspecific. However, while these are possible reasons, there are still various other potential reasons authors could have to exclude specific reviewers from their works.

Possible Reasons for Excluding Reviewers

  • Competition

This is a very legitimate reason commonly used by scientists at the time of submitting a paper. There are lots of competition in science and it is common for two laboratories to work simultaneously on closely related subject. An even more legitimate reason plays a role when patenting is involved. The first research group that patents a product/protocol has the advantage of commercializing an idea. Excluding reviewers in such cases gives the advantage of keeping the work secret from potential competitors.

  • Negative Personal History

One major reason why some authors choose to exclude specific individuals from reviewing their manuscripts can be attributed to bad blood from personal involvements or previous collaborations, which could, in most cases, form the basis of a reviewer’s judgment and criticism.

While it is regarded as unprofessional and unethical to unjustly criticize a person’s work because of unhealthy past affiliations, it contributes to why most authors add specific people to their list of non-preferred reviewers as they seek to avoid every form of biased criticism.

  • Antagonistic Personalities 

Some authors also exclude specific individuals from reviewing their work, especially when they fall into the category of people who intentionally tank the success of other people because that’s what they are known for doing. Some authors from experience have had to deal with reviewers who exhibit toxic behaviors. To avoid such occurrence in the future, some will most likely refuse to have their work reviewed by such individuals again.

  • To Avoid a Challenging Review

In some instances, authors could exclude certain people from reviewing their manuscripts to avoid a writer whose reviews are exceptionally detailed and provide cogent challenges to the ideas present in the paper reviewed. As such, they would want to avoid this kind of review. Authors have the right to avoid the challenge but it is never a good reason for excluding reviewers since science grows on such challenges.

  • To Avoid a Well-Informed Review

This point proves that some authors don’t necessarily exclude some specific people from reviewing their works only because of past unhealthy collaborations or based on incompetence but because some authors might be aware of their manuscript’s weakness. Some people could easily identify this and, as such, choose to list them as non-preferred reviewers.

How to Exclude Specific Reviewers from Your Work

Authors who don’t want their work to be accessed by a specific writer can exclude them from having access to their work by listing their names under non-preferred reviewers along with credible reasons for such judgments before proceeding to send to the editor.

Of course, no editor will go-ahead to send a manuscript to be reviewed by an individual listed on non-preferred as it would be regarded as a direct betrayal of the trust the author has in the editor. In some cases, editors might find it hard to exclude a person if the reasons given are not fair enough, and they will most likely suggest to provide a more appropriate reason for excluding a reviewer or withdraw the paper.

Wrapping It Up

Finally, it is necessary to understand that an unfair negative review on your work that clearly shows bias against you does not necessarily mean that your work will not be accepted.

Editors are tasked with reading and considering all reviews before proceeding to make a final decision. If they see any review as inappropriate, then they can ignore or reject it. However, it is more beneficial to avoid having to deal with a non-preferred list but in a situation where it can’t be avoided, endeavor to provide convincing and credible reasons as to why.

Scientific Editing Blog

Leave a Comment