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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Peer Review Regrets

I've never regretted accepting an article I've accepted. I've never gone back and said I should have rejected that article.

I've never regretted a revise-and-resubmit. in almost all cases, the author has taken my suggestions and published the article. In almost all cases the author has seemed grateful or at least graceful.

The only question, then, is whether I have regretted an outright rejection, a case where the article might have been more easily fixable than I gave it credit for. There is no way to really make this judgment, because it's a subjective measure of where the threshold lies. I've come to realize the system of peer review is rather flawed, and that I've thought of it as fine simply because I assume everyone does it like I do, with prompt, fair, helpful, and thorough reviews. Unfortunately, that's not the case.


Clarissa said...

From my experience with your reviewing practices, you are willing to give a chance to pieces that many other reviewers would reject outright because it's easier that way. It's always easier to write "The article is well-researched and proposes some interesting ideas but something about it bothers me, so I don't recommend it for publication" (which is an actual response I once got) than to give detailed and insightful suggestions on how a piece could be improved.

Professor Zero said...

Rejection, I wouldn't worry about it. It's not like being in one of those fields where there are so few journals that a rejection will sink someone.

Clarissa said...

I wouldn't worry about it too if I could manage not to. :-)

Professor Zero said...

I mean, from the point of view of the reviewer. Naturally, one hates rejections of one's own stuff since it means one must figure out what to next with that thing. From the point of view of the ethics of reviewing and the impact what one says may have, se puede estar sin cuidado. Hay otros lectores, estan los editores, etc. - si es responsable uno, no se puede pedir mas y no hay por que preocuparse.