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Would my being an independent researcher diminish the value of my work?

I have two questions:

1.  Is it appropriate to alert potential reviewers whom I suggest as preferred reviewers for my paper, that the journal ( a very reputable one) might ask him or her to review my paper? 

2.  I’m a retired and independent researcher in behavioral sciences in the area of psychology and philosophy. Would being free of institutional affiliation diminish acceptability of my product? 

To answer the first question, the names of preferred reviewers you provide to the journal are merely suggestions to help the journal find reviewers. You cannot be sure that the journal will contact them. Even if they do contact them, they will not mention that the author suggested their names. Keeping in mind the need for objectivity and confidentiality in the peer review process, it is best to avoid any direct interaction between the author and the reviewer. Moreover, since the journal is a highly reputed one, the reviewers will likely feel happy to receive a review invitation from the journal. It is best that you do not contact them yourself.

Regarding your second question, there are many independent researchers with published papers. As long as the quality of your work is good, whether or not you are affiliated to an institution should not ideally affect the acceptability of your work. However, articles submitted by independent researchers might go through a more careful scrutiny. This is because it is often easier for independent researchers to commit academic misconduct and if misconduct is suspected post-publication, it is difficult for the journal to investigate the matter without institutional support. Apart from being subjected to a more rigorous evaluation process, I don't think papers by independent researchers are treated any differently or valued any less than papers by authors with institutional affiliations.

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