Warning to MSWord Users

David Parry bio photo By David Parry

I just got the MLA newsletter in the mail, and was reading a few of the articles. Apparently MS Word has become a problem in anonymous peer review. Why? Because if you submit a document via email for review, the reviewer can see who created the document. How? Well by default Word tags documents with the name of the author, or more precisely the name of the registered user of the computer on which it was written. All you have to do is select File-Properties-Summary and Word displays the information. Okay, a few points about this:

  • First, if you have Word you might want to turn off this feature, you never know when the government might intercept something you wrote and arrest you for something you wrote that is in violation of the patriot act.
  • Second, better yet just send your files as a .rtf.
  • Third, why are journals, which are trying to promote scholarship supporting a proprietary document format, rather than using a document format open to all? Seems like a bad academic practice to me.