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Author Topic: Don't Cite this Guy!  (Read 1681 times)
hiddendragon
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« on: December 04, 2012, 3:33:36 PM »

I'm in a bit of a dilemma here and I don't know what to do.  One of the reviewers of my manuscript has taken upon huself to contact me.  Hu sent me harsh, but very helpful comments, most of which I agree with.  But one of the comments regards me citing a scholar that the reviewer hates and has raised to the ground multiple times in multiple publications.  True, the work of this other scholar is not the best but I believe it to be credible.  I mean, I can pinpoint the mistakes, but I think his work overall is adequate.  I'm fine with his work being just adequate given that he's not an expert in the field.  He's an expert in another field, but just writes on my field out of sheer interest.  So, my question is, how do I deal with reviewer's demand that I not cite this guy?  Reviewer and I have become close as a result of hus comments and helpful critical remarks, but if the final product still shows me citing the guy, I think reviewer will feel quite betrayed or angry even.  Should I just ignore reviewer's demand that I not cite this guy and do it?  Should I tell reviewer I'm going to cite him?  I believe it would be highly unethical if I don't cite this guy when I take his information to support my own.  Moreover, if I don't cite him, how do I show that I got this info. from him?

I'd appreciate any helpful comments on how to handle this.  Oh, and the guy who the reviewer told me not to cite has already gotten a hold of me years ago and has been really nice to me over the years.  I truly DO NOT believe in stealing someone's ideas and not giving them credit.  Several scholars have already done this to me and I hate it.
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highwall
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2012, 3:35:45 PM »

Your reviewer is a petty little (*&^$.
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yellowtractor
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2012, 3:39:05 PM »

Wow.  Just--wow.  (In re the reviewer's conduct.)

I would send the reviewer a very polite, possibly borderline gushy, note thanking him or her for the detailed and helpful critique.  I would not explicitly address the Scholar X Embargo.

It's possible you need to position Scholar X's work in your field, perhaps in a footnote, if you are going to retain the citation.  This is what I would do.

Indeed, I did just that in my diss.; I had cited someone under similar circumstances, and received similar (if less dramatic) feedback from members of my committee.  I still think my own Scholar X was right in the particular context I cited him, but...I've now read much more of his work and have a much better sense of why citing him t all was read as a provocation and did me no professional favors.  I wouldn't repeat it.
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hiddendragon
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2012, 3:40:31 PM »

Your reviewer is a petty little (*&^$.

Exactly! Now you know why I am afraid of him.  He's considered one of the top three experts on my subject.
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larryc
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2012, 4:19:27 PM »

I think you should play ball. Drop the citation--and maybe ask the reviewer what to replace it with. No harm is done to the person you don't cite, and you get your publication out and form a powerful (though petty) benefactor.
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highway61
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2012, 6:45:21 PM »

I don't see that it's the reviewer's business at all--it's between you and the editor (of the journal? the press?) to determine. Ask that person, and if you two agree to include the references you can always explain to your new friend that the inclusion of the citations resulted from broad consultation with your editor and others. If it ever comes up, which it shouldn't.
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sagit
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2012, 9:34:20 PM »

Wow, what a dilemma.  Can you email the reviewer and basically agree with the critique of the Scholar X but say that unfortunately you feel ethically obligated to cite Scholar X because you have to acknowledge the origin of those ideas.  Then do what you can to make the manuscript not as heavy in citations of Scholar X.
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msparticularity
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2012, 11:14:10 PM »

I think you should play ball. Drop the citation--and maybe ask the reviewer what to replace it with. No harm is done to the person you don't cite, and you get your publication out and form a powerful (though petty) benefactor.

Larryc, if this individual is the source of hiddendragon's idea (which appears, from my read, to be the case), then this course would be actual scholarly misconduct. I think she should put it to the reviewer in precisely those terms--explain, exactly as sagit suggests, that she gets the problem but cannot ethically pretend to have arrived at these ideas on her own.
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wet_blanket
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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2012, 1:00:48 AM »

I think you should play ball. Drop the citation--and maybe ask the reviewer what to replace it with. No harm is done to the person you don't cite, and you get your publication out and form a powerful (though petty) benefactor.

Larryc, if this individual is the source of hiddendragon's idea (which appears, from my read, to be the case), then this course would be actual scholarly misconduct. I think she should put it to the reviewer in precisely those terms--explain, exactly as sagit suggests, that she gets the problem but cannot ethically pretend to have arrived at these ideas on her own.

I assumed both Larry and the reviewer were suggesting omitting this person's work altogether, not just taking out the citations. I think yellow tractor is right about positioning this person's work. Perhaps your reviewer would be satisfied if you included a critique of the work you're using?  Just a sentence or two, along with the reasons you're using it in spite of the problems you identify.
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larryc
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2012, 1:19:41 AM »

I think you should play ball. Drop the citation--and maybe ask the reviewer what to replace it with. No harm is done to the person you don't cite, and you get your publication out and form a powerful (though petty) benefactor.

Larryc, if this individual is the source of hiddendragon's idea (which appears, from my read, to be the case), then this course would be actual scholarly misconduct. I think she should put it to the reviewer in precisely those terms--explain, exactly as sagit suggests, that she gets the problem but cannot ethically pretend to have arrived at these ideas on her own.

You may be right, I was reading the post as referring to a more mundane sort of citation to a matter of fact--which could easily be swapped out with another source. But if this is a reference to an original idea you are absolutely correct.
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hiddendragon
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« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2012, 2:52:12 AM »

Not only original idea, but original fact.  We're talking fact here....like I would say, "XY was the very first person to document this incident in his work, title...."  I do not know how I could pretend to be the first person who mentions this fact by not citing this guy's work.  And, my own research corroborate the guy's finding, which was why I had to say he had already documented it earlier with a different informant. 

I did ask reviewer about this and reviewer said I should cite the sources of the Guy in question, but not the Guy himself.  So, say the Guy got his information from an oral informant and cited the informant in his work.  What reviewer is saying is that I should cite the Guy's informant alone and not the Guy, but how do I even do this?  Even if I cite the Guy's informant, don't I have to cite the informant as "X Y, As Interviewed by the Guy who the reviewer does not want me to cite, January 6, 1800"?  I mean, I can't pretend to cite as if the Guy's informant is mine such as:  "XY, Interview with author, January 6, 1800."  I don't see how I can avoid citing the guy at all in this case, lest I risk my own research being questioned as shoddy.  If the data were secondary sources, I could just cite the originals, but in this case, the data are primary sources. 

I think saying that the editor insisted on a thorough citation might put the burden off of me a bit.

Thanks.

I think you should play ball. Drop the citation--and maybe ask the reviewer what to replace it with. No harm is done to the person you don't cite, and you get your publication out and form a powerful (though petty) benefactor.

Larryc, if this individual is the source of hiddendragon's idea (which appears, from my read, to be the case), then this course would be actual scholarly misconduct. I think she should put it to the reviewer in precisely those terms--explain, exactly as sagit suggests, that she gets the problem but cannot ethically pretend to have arrived at these ideas on her own.

You may be right, I was reading the post as referring to a more mundane sort of citation to a matter of fact--which could easily be swapped out with another source. But if this is a reference to an original idea you are absolutely correct.
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larryc
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« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2012, 3:23:44 AM »

I see. I was wrong and you certainly do need to cite him. The idea of having the editor "insist" is excellent.
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prof_smartypants
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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2012, 10:07:56 AM »

I see. I was wrong and you certainly do need to cite him. The idea of having the editor "insist" is excellent.

Yes. I would do what the others say. Thank the reviewer profusely and keep the article as-is. Push the blame up the food chain to the editor if possible.
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