Saturday, December 12, 2009

Listening to referees

It does not take long in science to get a negative referee report that makes ones blood boil. However, as frustrating (and silly) as some reports are I think we can gain a lot by reading them carefully and reflecting on why the referee expressed the view they do.

This was brought home to me recently when within a week I had two papers outright rejected. As painful as it was to acknowledge I can now see there is some basis for some of the referees criticisms. I still claim that in both papers the science was both valid and important. However, I now see that the way the papers were written that a quick reading (which I do not begrudge since I do it too) could frustrate a referee and lead to a negative report. So I am now rewriting both papers. I think the end result will be better papers.

So, try and put your shoes in the referee [wow what a Freudian slip! ]
I mean put yourself in the shoes of the referee and see if you can see what they said and why.

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