Reviewers: the good, the bad & the ugly

Okay. We all agree that it is a good idea to have some quality control for scientific publications. You know, to enhance reproducibility, to decrease fraud, to catch sloppy mistakes and misinterpretations that could all potentially lead to retractions. And of course, possibly even worse than a retraction, bad quality science could lead people astray and waste a lot of time and resources.

/rant modus on
What I do ABSOLUTELY not like. Reviewers going through a very rough time in their lives. Telling me to do certain experiments, that everyone in the field agrees on are not possible. Sure, I could *invent* the method, but that itself would be worthy of a N/C/S paper and take a few years, stupid! And oh yeah, even worse, the reviewer who asks only for things that are in the supplements and other than that only comments on my English. Did you even read the thing?
/rant modus off

I started wondering at some point whether I am overestimating our data and my writing. Until I wrote 2 reviews. And those brought back mainly really positive feedback, along with a few friendly posed suggestions. You can’t imagine how happy I was to read that “this review is very well written for a broad audience” et cetera. Still feeling pretty smug actually. Too bad I don’t know the reviewer who commented on the writing style earlier, or I would have forwarded him/her all these other comments that agree on our enjoyable and clear writing!

So yeah, I still agree that peer review is essential and needs to be critical. But please, do not overdo it 😦 It is always possible to find more experiments that would be exciting too…..



  1. Haha! I’m sorry for laughing but I have to say that your post is extremely funny. Opening an email from editor is always, at first fantastic if it is not a rejection. Then follows the anxiety. What questions are they asking and will it even be possible to adress this?

    Now to a different subject. Get that nail polish! Best I ever had. It helps that touching the coarse surface is as calming as scratching your face (baaad habit) while writing response to reviewers 🙂

  2. I just wrote you a loooong comment that disappeared. Core of it was: funny post! I love letter from editor that is not an email of rejection. Ambivalent regarding writing response to reviewers (is it only me sometimes wondering if I’m misinterpreting a question?) and finally, put that polish on your wish list. It is amazing (and I am normally not even fond of nail polish)

    1. Disappearing comments are evil… Thanks for taking the time to rewrite it 😉

      I went shopping today, but couldn’t find the polish anywhere. Guess I’ll order it on Amazon, found a set with 4 minis 🙂

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