Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Academic pet peeves

One of my pet peeves is when I get a paper to referee from Journal A that I have already reviewed for Journal B and the author has not changed the paper at all in light of the referee comments from Journal B. This irritates me for two reasons. First, the author is showing a general disrespect for the process of peer review in science. Obviously, there is no need to respond to comments from Journal B that are incorrect or beside the point, but if all the comments were such, the paper would likely have been published in Journal B, rather than rejected and then submitted to Journal A. Second, the author makes me feel like a moron for putting in lots of time, as I always do, to write a careful and thorough referee report. When this happens, my habit is to write a very tough report, recommend rejection, and inform the editor about the author's poor behavior.

From the author's standpoint, why risk pissing off a referee or editor who may end up getting asked to write a tenure letter? It does not seem worth it even from a purely cynical perspective.