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I am submitting a manuscript to a journal. I wish to exclude a colleague from being the reviewer of the manuscript. The journal has a single blind review: authors are known, reviewers are anonymous.

Question in short: The reason for this exclusion request are personal (see below), and I'm not sure I want to expose those reasons. What is the most effective ways to exclude a reviewer whom you don't trust to make a fair judgement?

Personal reasons for exclusion request::

  • We had a couple of harsh interactions. She had criticized me personally, and had short arguments about our different attitudes towards publishing, writing and research.
  • I believe she has already wrote a "reject" review on my manuscript (for a different venue).

  • To my judgment, she has standards that are uncommon in my research community, and so would judge my work on unconventional higher standards.

  • Her personality, in my view, is harsh and critical (and unpleasant) and so each of her judgments are prone to be more negative than others, on average.

  • She is related to the area of my manuscript (I have cited her manuscript and given her full credit for the work she did), and from her point of view me publishing the manuscript would, psychologically, be a personal disappointment, because her related work has not been published.

Questions: 1. Can I ask the editor not to send it to her review?

  1. Should I ask the editor for this? Would it benefit me?

  2. How can I explain my request, and should I explain it?

Notes: i) I don't want to write none of the reasons I listed above! Because they are mostly personal! And would put me in a very unpleasant situation psychologically at least.

ii) I believe that the review process in general is very subjective, and so there is always a way to consider the same work in two opposite perspectives: positive and negative. I believe the reviewer I want to exclude would highlight the negatives, and diminish the positives. And recommend a rejection.

This question is different from: Sound reasons for excluding a reviewer, because the current question asks how to exclude a reviewer irrespective of the justifications of this exclusion. In other words, I'm not asking what are "sound reasons to exclude a reviewer", but rather HOW to exclude her, independent from the existence of sound reasons.

More details of the difference:

In Sound reasons for excluding a reviewer the term "sound" is probably meant to be an objective term. However I claim that the reviewing process is not an objective process at all. Thus, there are at least three different interpretations of Sound reasons for excluding a reviewer:

  • What kind of reason would be regarded as sound by the editor of the journal?


  • Is there a set of objective reasons that the scientific community views as legitimate to exclude a reviewer?


  • What can I, as an author do, to exclude a reviewer, if I think he/she has a grudge against me, irrespective of the objective reality, or the justifications of this act of excluding the reviewer?

The OP has not clarified whether he/she means 1, 2, 3 or another question. These are all different questions. I'm asking 3.


I cannot merge my account with I am a guest (which is also me) because I don't remember the email I used for "I am a guest".

1 Answer 1

As you are serious about this, you could request the editor to exclude the specific person from the prospective reviewers list.

This is not an act of misconduct as there are of course many journals who do have a reviewers to exclude section. If asked, you may state research rivalry as a reason.