A young philosopher writes:
Increasingly, manuscriptcentral invites submitters to suggest referees for one's paper. I cannot help thinking this is, overall, a bad thing. Pros for it would be that it is often difficult to find a referee, and journals need all the help they can get. (Of course, journals wouldn't be bound by the submitter's suggestion.) However, surely the handling editor is going to be an expert in the field, and should, independently, be well-positioned to know who would be appropriate to approach for refereeing the paper. Cons are fairly obvious: It does seem a corruption of blind review. I can suggest someone I've discussed the paper with and know to be sympathetic to the paper. Even more insidiously, I could set up a deal with my suggested referee: You review my paper favourably (if the journal approaches you), and in return name me as a suggested referee for your upcoming submission and (if the journal approaches me) I'll review your paper favourably. Thoughts?
What do readers think? Is this increasingly common? Is it problematic or not? Signed comments will be preferred.