Citing Oneself in an Article for Peer Review

Like many colleagues, I review lots of manuscripts for journals. Probably too many, but that's another issue.

I want to think in public about the role of self-citations in double-blind articles for peer review. I'm going to assume the following about these articles, which are all ingredient in the previous sentence:

1. the author(s) are known to the editor and journal staff.

2. the author(s) unknown to the reviewer (or the reviewer is uncertain of the author's identity)

3. the reviewer(s) are unknown to the author(s)

Let's say I'm writing an article about deep brain stimulation and I want to cite previously published work in an article blinded for peer review. If I write (Author, date) as a citation, then this indicates at least two things to the reader:

1. The author has published something in this area -- it might be a peer reviewed journal article or scholarly book.

2. The author is building on his/her extant research in this area 

Both of the above imply that the author is an expert in the field. Might it be that this kind of self-citation actually lends a degree of credibility to the author's paper that is unwarranted? 

There is another option. One could self-cite without drawing attention to the fact. I could write, "Morrison (2014) reported" without writing, "As my previous research has demonstrated (Author, 2014)..." Isn't the former better, especially for those reviewers who do not have a great deal of familiarity with all the authors in a particular field of subfield?

Perhaps the phrase "do not have a great deal of familiarity with..." in the above paragraph is naive, but I review submissions all the time from authors who seem to be outside the US, wishing to publish in US-based journals. And so this is a real issue for me. Perhaps I'm not as well informed as I should be, but there you go. 

New Appointment: Lecturer in Sociology

It's been a few days (ahem, longer) since I've posted. But, I have some important-ish news. 

I've been appointed Lecturer in sociology at my graduate department, here at Vanderbilt University. I'm obviously thrilled and humbled. No teaching duties as of yet, but I do hope that eventually I'll be able to teach and class and have more sustained interaction with the faculty and undergraduates majoring in sociology. I think it's important to raise the next generation of sociologists right! And by right, I mean with an intersectional lens on social structures and inequalities.

By the way, it's important to specify that this appointment is at Vanderbilt University, because the University and the Medical Center have officially divorced (that is, become different legal corporations). The effects of this change are still being interpreted by faculty and staff. As far as I can tell, things have not changed much for faculty. For staff, on the other hand, things are different, starting with benefits (don't ask me for specifics, I can barely decipher basic HR-speak). 

The change has got me thinking about the ways that the university has become an ever more corporate entity, as eccentricities and inefficiencies (like tenure for scholars who teach and conduct research in unpopular, but still important, fields). Is this simply neoliberalism finding a new and comfy home in higher education, where highly paid managers can streamline and "synergize" operations and efforts?