Saturday, November 25
I am reviewing some submissions to a conference. These are supposed to be anonymous, but some people are not very good at anonymizing their manuscripts. I figure the goal of anonymity is that the reviewer not be biased by the identity of the author. So I then figured, once I have made a decision about a submission and the author was sloppy enough to leave their name in, it's not that big a deal to look them up. (Or is it?) To be honest, my main motivation came from intellectual curiosity. I had no idea what the proposal was talking about and was eager to see whether reading up on the person and their work would give me a better understanding. (And when I say I didn't understand the writing, I don't mean that it was too high level. It was simply incomprehensibly bad.)

So I looked up one such person the other day, a "Prof. Somebody" as noted by the author in the text itself. (First of all, who refers to either themselves or their advisor as "Prof. Anybody" in the middle of a paper?)

It turns out that this person is not a prof, but a student! So why refer to oneself as Prof X? I know, I know, to make the product seem more worthy. It was crap regardless so it doesn't matter. But what bs! I can't believe people pull this kind of crap. And of course, I can't say anything to anybody since it is an anonymous process. (Thanks to a.secret for providing an outlet though!)


strawberries said...

is the person from outside the US? because in different systems/countries the titles assigned to ppl based on education are often different than ours.

that is the only possible reason i can think of. and yah, that is pretty dumb.

fraud, in denim said...

I wonder if he or she knows. I think back to all the lame things I did as I was going through the professionalization process and it's really, really scary.

Can you tell if the author is a new or seasoned grad student? Is it themselves that they're referring to as professor, or is that just how they write instead of saying "Fraud asserts...," they're saying, "Professor Fraud asserts..."? Myabe the author didn't do enough homework to realize the author of the work he or she is citing is still a grad student?

Navy Blue Blob said...

It was self-referential. I didn't realize that until I checked. The person referred to the data being collected under Prof X's guidance (or some such phrase) and then it turned out that this person is Prof X.

Yes, the person is likely from another country/culture. But they are attending graduate school in North America. So I don't think the culture card works here. Or if it does, until when? How long after someone's been in this system is it not okay to do this anymore? (But seriously, are there really cultures where you go around calling yourself Prof. Navy Blue Blob even when you're a grad student?)

strawberries said...

yah, the term prof. can often refer to teachers of high school in other countries. so maybe the person doesn't know yet?

but yah, he should find out soon...