Induction by any other name would smell

Sat 11 Oct 2008 11:28 AM

My paper on demonstrative theories of induction is now forthcoming in International Studies in the Philosophy of Science. I just sent off my formatted final draft, which I've mirrored on the website.

A couple of years ago, I blogged about the worry that putting papers on-line might wreck the blind review process. My decision then was to post papers on-line under dummy titles, so that referees who were sent my paper would not be confronted by a headline that they might have innocently encountered on-line. I rejected more severe measures, because referees who deliberately violate blinding can probably figure out who I am anyway. I could only avoid that by being so secretive that no one in the field knew about me, but for obvious reasons that is a non-optimal strategy career-wise.

This paper was posted before that decision, but the original title ("Eliminating induction") was too cute and misleading. I changed the title after having decided to use dummy titles, so I kept the original title for the version on my website. The real, final title is "Demonstrative induction and the skeleton of inference." (More accurate. Still somewhat pithy.)

The cost of this dummy-title strategy, which I did not appreciate before, is that dummy titles gain traction in Google Scholar. Since the search engine is not clever enough to tell that a later version is just the same paper under a different title, Google Scholar's information about me gets cluttered with a lot of drafts.

I will persist with the dummy title strategy, however, because the Google Scholar clutter pathology will arise unless the first version I post has exactly the same title as the final version. I am not sure if that has happened with any paper I've written. In this case, for example, I presented an earlier version at a conference under the original title. In other cases, journal referees have asked me to change the title. And (to end with a zinger) E J Udokang can make a whole new article by changing the title's punctuation or spelling.