A comment over at writedit’s unending thread on NIH grant paylines caught my attention.

Hello All,
I just received my summary statement for an R15 I submitted in October and found out that I had four reviewers score my proposal. I thought that three reviewers was routine. Would anyone know why a fourth was included?
Thanks for your help.

I had the following response, slightly expanded for this context.

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Every now and again I get a request to provide information to an individual who writes for a mainstream media print outlet. Sometimes ones that are focused on the scientific enterprise, sometimes ones that have a regional focus and sometimes the larger, more general national news organizations. The latest one was from Sharon Begley of Newsweek .
The typical request includes some stroking “I’m a big fan of your blog” (yeah, you and the spam commenters, bucko) and a request for a voice interview on some topic of interest that is obviously related to my blogging.
So far, so good.
Even if I do not really understand the fetish with the voice interview over the email exchange. (Oh, ok, yes I do*.)
Then, with various degrees of clumsiness, they work around to the question of my real identity and how they would like to cite that real identity in their article.
Of course, I refuse.

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