A Question for Readers About Publishing Etiquette (Minor Update)
Dear readers, I need your advice. I was recently asked by a good journal to peer review a short essay about international criminal law. The essay was quite good, and I would have had no qualms about recommending its publication, but I had the strangest sense of deja vu as I read it. It didn’t take me long to realize why: the author had published a version of the article as a blog post on a major international-law blog — one of which he/she is not a member. That would not necessarily have been a deal-breaker for me, but the blog post reproduced verbatim nearly 80% of the article’s text — basically, it was the article, minus the footnotes. As a result, I informed the journal that although the article was very good, I could not recommend publishing it. I also suggested that, if they were not bothered by the duplication, they should ask another reviewer to take a look at the article. I think that was the right decision, especially as the journal did not indicate to me that it was aware the article had previously been published on a blog. But I still feel a bit conflicted — the author is not a professor and is not necessarily aware of publishing conventions. I would love to hear from others about what they would have done in my situation.
UPDATE: In response to Alec’s comment below, I have updated the post to make clear that this was not a self-posted entry; the author submitted the post to the blog in question and the blog agreed to publish it. If that affects anyone’s opinion, please let me know in the comments.