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Publish anonymous version of notebook for academic review

This may be a niche use case, and I would fully understand if it is never implemented. Still, I wanted to put it out there…

I am preparing a notebook as supplementary material for an academic paper. For the review of the paper, I am supposed to remove any information identifying me as the author - this means I cannot include a link to the notebook with the submission, since my username would give away my identity.

It would be great if I could publish an “anonymized” version of the notebook for this purpose. This version of the notebook would be available at a URL not containing my username, and would not contain a link to my profile or any other information that would reveal my identity. After the double-blind review is completed, the link could be replaced or reconfigured to point to the “full” version of the notebook.

Right now, the only ways I can think of to accomplish something similar would be to download the notebook and self-host a modified version somewhere, or to create a new, anonymous user and recreate the notebook by manually copying over the code of all its cells (since forking the original notebook would again provide a link to my identity). Both of these options do not appear very feasible to me - if there is another workaround to accomplish something similar that I am not aware of, I am thankful for suggestions.

When I had to do this I did create an anonymous user and forked the notebook, which I had shared; there was no indication back to “me” since the original notebook wasn’t published.

Even without forking, you can copy/paste code from someone else’s notebook (say 6770d9bf1944219a) in one click, by first creating an empty notebook (for example https://observablehq.com/d/7bac98f50308d1b5 ) then calling the diff URL: https://observablehq.com/compare/7bac98f50308d1b5...6770d9bf1944219a — see screenshot below.

The “merge” action will then copy all of 6770d9bf1944219a into the new 7bac98f50308d1b5. The only technical consideration is that the original is accessible to the user that copies it. (There are also usage terms considerations if you were copying someone else’s code, but since that someone else is also you, there is no issue.)


@fil is most likely aware of this already, but a note for others is that according to the TOS, it seems (to me) that creating another anonymous user is only allowed if you pay for that account or your main account:

One person or legal entity may maintain no more than one free account.

I was blissfully unaware of that :wink: