Editorial license revoked

In academic publishing, who referees the referees?

Here’s an ethical/prudential puzzler for our academic readers. Should a member of the editorial staff of a refereed journal submit a paper to that journal? Assume that neither the reviewers nor the other editors know the author’s identity, so they can’t show dis/favoritism. And the journal has no explicit policy on the matter.

In principle, it seems ok to me, as the selection process isn’t rigged. On the other hand, should the paper be accepted, it might suggest the possibility of an appearance of a conflict of interest. And if it’s rejected, there’s potential discord among the editors.

Of course, in many arcane fields “anonymous” refereeing is a charade: There are five people in the world who understand the subject—one is the journal editor, and three are reviewers, so the odd man out must be the author. Assume away that concern.