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I am reviewing a publication, in which the authors give the URL of an online tool (data analysis and sharing) they have developed. This URL has apparently not yet been publicized, as searching for it in Google didn't bring any result. Because of that, I'm worried that the paper's authors may identify me as a referee when I go check their website (after all, the logs must be clear). That probably wouldn't be very ethical, but I have no way of being sure they won't do it.

What I am supposed to do about it? I thought of contacting the editor asking for guidance, using a private proxy[1], or logging from an internet café somewhere. Do you have any other suggestions? Or am I just worrying too much?

  1. I don't know which anonymizing proxy service to use, and I welcome suggestions in comments, but that probably isn't particularly relevant to this site.

1 Answer 1

First, I think you are worrying too much. Second, I think it is bad form on the part of the authors. If the material on the website is critical for the paper, it needs to be provided in an archival form that the journal can keep track of. I would evaluate it based on what you have been given.