Preparing your AEJMC paper for blind review

joy-jenkins-500By Joy Jenkins
Ph.D. Candidate at the Missouri School of Journalism

This morning I looked at the desktop of my laptop computer and sighed. It is that time in the semester when for every item I check off my to-do list, I add two or three more. Although the course I am teaching has hit a healthy swing and I am making (slow) progress on my dissertation, I realize: the AEJMC deadline is less than a month away. The time has come to take a critical look at my list of papers-in-progress and decide which ones I will subject to the AEJ gauntlet.

If you are like me — and I assume many of you are; we are overloaded academics after all — you have uploaded at least one conference paper at the final hour. After spending those final hours crossing every “t,” dotting every “i,” and basking in the earth-shattering, paradigm-shifting revelations sprinkled throughout your findings, you are ready to click “submit.” That’s when you see that all-so-important line in the submission requirements: “Authors must remove personal information from documents before uploading papers to ensure blind review.”

Wait. But how do I do that?

Fortunately, wiping your identify from your PDF-ed conference paper is far simpler than the multivariate multiple linear regression you conducted for your submission. It requires only a few simple steps. And although I usually resist efforts to label people based on categorical differences, I will provide these instructions for both Mac and Windows users.

The easiest way to ensure you submit a clean document is to first remove identifying information from your Microsoft Word file.

If you use Windows:

1. Open your file in Microsoft Word.

Step 1

2. Click on the “File” tab in the upper left.

3. Click on “Properties.”

4. Click on “Advanced Properties.”

5. If any identifying information appears, delete it.


If you use a Mac:

1. Open your file in Microsoft Word.

2. In the menu bar, click on “Word” and then “Preferences.”

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3. Click on “Security.”

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4. Click to enable “Remove personal information from this file on save.”

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5. Save your document.


If you want to ensure that your PDF is also clear of any identifying information:

1. Open the PDF.

2. Click on “File” and then “Properties.”

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3. Is the “Author” field blank? Then you’re good to go!

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If not, follow these steps:

1. Open your PDF in Adobe Acrobat.
2. Click on “Tools,” “Protection” and “Remove Hidden Information.”
3. Check to ensure that the check boxes are enabled only for the items that you want to remove from the document.
4. Click “Remove” to delete selected items from the file. Click “OK.”
5. Go to “File” and “Save.” Choose a file name and save your PDF.

That’s it! If you need more specific tips for your version of Microsoft Word, AEJMC offers a handy guide here:

Good luck, and happy researching!

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