peer review part IV

Michael Gochfeld gochfeld at
Thu Oct 5 11:11:10 EDT 2000

This is definitely more fun than working.  John describes some real 

>>>John Shuey wrote:   "All were rejected for a variety of good reasons. 
 These papers later showed up with my name included in the 
acknowledgments, thanking me for my review of an earlier draft.  These 
papers still really suck, but now my name has been appended to them, 
implying that I endorse both the science and the conclusions.  A 
complete embarrassment to me and in my opinion completely unethical 
behavior on the part of the authors."<<<

This could certainly happen.  If the paper as finally published was 
revised and incorporated at least some of John's suggestions, then the 
acknowledgement really isn't dishonest-----embarrassing yes. 

On the other hand: 

I don't have the data, but I know that of the papers that I have put a 
lot of time into "constructive" criticism and signed the reviews, the 
vast majority have NOT included me in the acknowledgements, even if I 
gave them some really "good stuff". I was mildly disappointed, but there 
isn't any policy regarding acknowledging referees. Some papers thank 
"two anonymous referees", but that's not very informative. 

On the other hand I once had the author of a MS a critiqued, invite me 
to be a co-author on the revision, expanding on my review.  

>>>So, I think twice about signing reviews of really bad papers now.<<<

Well I suppose that signing the positive, neutral and moderately 
negative reviews and not signing the really derogatory reviews is a 
viable strategy.  If that prevailed, then I could know that if I get an 
unsigned review, it must be really bad. 

>>>Could this be a strategy that people are using to avoid potentially 
critical reviewers by implying that they have already read and provided 
input to a paper????<<<<

Absolutely. That is a real strategy.  In fact, I think I once saw it in 
some tongue in cheek advice to graduate students. Disarm your critics by 
acknowledging them.  

Indeed,now that I think of it,  I remember sending a manuscript to a 
person who I thought was likely to be a reviewer, for their advice prior 
to submission, knowing that it was unlikely that the editor would send 
it back to them after submission. In fact, I think that someone on my 
committee recommended that (was it because the person was an authority 
or was it because they were known to be hostile reviewers??)

Mike Gochfeld

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