This week’s quote is not from a paper or a book, but directly from a blog post. You can find the whole text there, it is discussing the future of a recent ecological journal, Ecosphere, and it is an interesting take on a specific review process that may enroot in Academic publishing soon, “Cascade Reviews“.
Here’s the quote:
Perhaps your review process experience is always smooth sailing, but many of us are spending a lot of time revising and resubmitting papers that are technically sound but that reviewers dislike because they don’t like the topic or are uncomfortable with the take home message, or (my favorite) this isn’t the paper that they would have written themselves.
Hum, Academia. I think the quote is self explanatory. Sometimes your studies are approaching that almost* final stage, being published. But it does take many steps, the review process is not the easiest one. There are sometimes reasons for the review to derail, most of the time it has to do with uncareful reviewers, especially when they thought they could handle the review but eventually lacked time for proper appreciation of the work and ended up reading too fast or uncautiously or relied on really prime feelings about it.
Seeds Aside (or partner) had interesting experiences of peer review, with weirdest comments from reviewers ever. Sometimes indeed, the take-home message was cut down, resulting in a truncated paper (a friend of mine asked me why I didn’t really answer my question, I told him the reviewer didn’t like the answer and it was simply cut off –I needed a published paper more than the time needed to publish the paper elsewhere). Other times, I’ve seen reviewers confusing factor size with sample size and nowhere in the manuscript was it close to this confusion. Best of all is a reviewer that wondered why selfing was only done in herms and not in females (hermaphrodites produce both pollen and ovules and can self, females only produce ovules and of course can’t self –so this was a big laugh, but then I noticed people don’t get what’s wrong with this reviewer’s mistake, so you must tell them about basic floral biology). Never had the reviewer that would have been writing the paper differently yet, but this is only a matter of time I guess…
*Yep, once published, it has reached a step where you’re done with what you can do about it (you can still advertise your results in conferences, but not much more). Ultimately, that’ll be other scientists citing the study (this is almost our only metrics for impact), and teachers or students using it for classes (or even simply people interested in what you did outside the realm of Academia).