The referee receives a blind referee report request
from Ed, the editor, with the name of the author, Arthur,
removed. Here are some absurd situations that may arise:
- The referee rejects the paper based on overlap
with the work of Tim at the University of Timbouctou.
He does not realize that Tim=Arthur, and draws the wrong
conclusion. In his zeal, Ed, the editor, disregards that
recommendation, and accepts the paper, not realizing that the referee
has not bothered checking the paper in detail because of
the obvious overlap.
- The referee hates the paper, and writes a scathing report.
As it turns out, Arthur is Ed's colleague down the hall,
and his drinking buddy.
Oops! If the referee had seen the name,
he could (and should) have refused to referee that paper.
- The referee, an expert in his/her area, has received
another very similar paper to referee, and immediately
rejects the paper. It is unacceptable to submit similar,
almost identical material, to two different journals.
Unfortunately, by accident, the other paper is
from a competing research team, and a terrible
injustice has just taken place.
- The referee spends three full days combing through
the paper, and lists all errors diligently in his/her
seven-page report. The only problem is
that Arthur=Ed, and the referee has just done the dirty
work for Ed. You will say "This is impossible,
editors do not process their own papers." Well,
this has happened to me with an ex-editor in chief
of the Journal of Multivariate Analysis (which was
not even blinded!).
Granted, it only happened once
in my career, but it did happen.