Thursday, October 11, 2012

Do Your Manuscript Review

Serving as a journal editor has meant I've learned a lot about the process. I know what makes authors, reviewers, and editors happy, and I know what annoys them. I have a sense of what is reasonable, and what is unreasonable.

Today I just want to mention one bad practice, namely agreeing to do a review of a journal article and then later refusing to complete it. I had a reviewer say simply that he "declined," as if that negated the original acceptance to do so, when I sent him a reminder email.

Don't do this. If you have any doubt about your ability to get a review done, then say no right off the bat. Why did you say yes in the first place?

What happens now is that very late in the game I have to find another reviewer, which delays the process for the author. That author will soon be emailing me to ask about the status of their review, and unfortunately good manners prevent me from telling them the name of the individual who screwed things up for them.

It's unprofessional, so don't do it.


Anonymous,  12:48 AM  

This is a very frustrating experience for editors at less-prestigious journals, and it's rotten to have to apologize to authors that one simply can't force a reviewer to go any faster.

When the review process is slowed up at the top journals, which have much more coercive power over their reviewers by virtue of their prestige, it's inexcusable. Your term was rotten, outgoing APSR team, and you hurt the career of an unknown number of junior scholars.

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