Topic: How to remove author information from Word documents or PDF files?  (Read 114114 times)

You noticed that some of the DOCX and/or PDF files uploaded by authors include their names / organizations in the properties information of the file.

This is not very helpful for anonymized reviewing, how can we solve this problem?

There is no simple answer to this problem, as we know of no automatism how to prevent this or how to remove this information automatically from a document. Please note that Word files usually also include a lot of hidden information about the editing process (like deleted parts, remarks etc.) that can be made visible with certain tools.

Our comments / hints on this issue:
  • Ask authors to upload anonymized files for the review process.
    If you also need a non-anonymized file during this phase, ask them to upload two files (1. anonymized, 2. normal) and hide the second file from reviewers.
    Please see: Reviewers cannot access the uploaded files
  • We always recommend using PDF files instead of DOCX files for the review process, as they cause much less trouble for the reviewers.
    Please see: How and Why to Create PDF Files
  • Even anonymized PDF files (without author information shown on the pages) usually also include meta-information in the document properties that can identify the author. This meta-information includes for instance the file name of the source document, the name of the creator of the file and so forth. ConfTool Pro removes this information "on the fly" when a reviewer downloads the document. This works with most PDF documents and only fails when the document is encrypted or protected.
  • Some organizers employ student helpers to check all files for author information and to ask authors to remove such information before the review process.
  • Many organizers don't really bother that much, as in most cases you can find out anyway who is the author of a submission if you really want to (e.g. by the references).

For more information see also:
Are names of authors visible to reviewers?
Reviewers cannot access the uploaded files