What’s the best (or worst) review you’ve received?

It’s Peer Review Week and we’d like to hear your thoughts
Published in Social Sciences
What’s the best (or worst) review you’ve received?

Can you believe this is the fifth year of Peer Review Week?!

There’s a great post about the history of PRW on the Scholarly Kitchen if you’re keen to learn more about how it started and what it’s grown into. Most years have had a theme, from transparency to diversity, and the topic chosen for 2019 is…

‘Quality in Peer Review’

So we’re asking:

What’s the best (or worst) review you’ve ever received? And why

We’d love to hear from you so please do take the opportunity to share your thoughts and experiences on Peer Review! Simply use the comment box at the bottom of this post to share your answers.

One thing – as with any contribution to the Community, do keep in mind our Community Policy when sharing your comments (basically, be nice and stay on topic).

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Go to the profile of Jack C. Lennon
over 4 years ago

I have generally been fortunate to have avoided some of the review horror stories. However, I would say that my worst review was one during which the two reviewers noted two entirely different views on the manuscript - they did not merely disagree with types of revisions. Instead, one reviewer generally deemed it acceptable with minor revisions while the other reviewer made comment after comment negating my premises. Admittedly, I find some pleasure in taking critical feedback and strengthening premises if one can sufficiently refute them. This particular review, though, did not offer constructive feedback. It was a straw man fallacy, such that I felt almost certain that the individual disagreed with my entire perspective and remained steadfast to her or his own. 

We are all entitle to our own opinions and, in many ways, this is how manuscripts can become as strong as possible prior to publication. Serving as a peer-reviewer is also a role to take seriously as a service to the profession - one that should offer useful and actionable feedback to authors of all manuscripts sent for review, even if the topic is highly contentious or defies everything we believe or claim to know. This is how strong science makes it through, even if it takes countless submissions and revisions to eventually make it work. While relatively minor compared to other stories I have heard, I have taken this experience and allowed it to inform how I review manuscripts. It becomes a highly rewarding activity that instills humility, because no matter how much we believe we know or understand about a topic, there is always room for growth.