From astronomy to zoology, peer review is universal across all subject areas, and so for Peer Review Week this year we asked the exact same question to each of our Community sites:
What’s the best (or worst) review you’ve ever received, and why?
Here’s how each Community answered:
- Jane Greaves shared a rather confusing comment she once received and Mara Salvato touches on the time constrains of competent referees
- Justin O'Grady described how an early bad experience with peer review showed him how to be a better referee himself
- Eleni Routoula shared her experience of receiving a couple of very recent but not very constructive reviews, and offered some advice for giving helpful feedback
- “I was too young and scared to complain to the editor” – Klaas Wynne thoughts on receiving a less-than-professional rejection
- Kamil F. Dziubek commented on the language a reviewer used when he received two conflicting reports on the same manuscript
Device & Materials Engineering
- Vito Cacucciolo thinks one-liners are the worst kind of review whilst the best ones are those which are respectively critical
Ecology & Evolution
- Cedric Aria shared why he thinks the peer review system is broken, using examples from his own experience
- An expression of gratitude to the generosity of an anonymous reviewer from Manyuan Long
- Back to the 1980s where Michael Singer’s butterfly preference testing technique enraged reviewers for the entire decade
- Stefan Geisen thinks the best referee reports are constructive and personal attacks are the worst kind. Zhe Li thinks the best reviews are constructive too, but the worst are when referees insist on adding their papers to the reference list
- Akos T Kovacs shared an interesting handwritten comment he received recently…
- How a reviewer ‘killed’ a paper for Rick Lewis in 1999
- Our very own Ben Johnson described how he ended up publishing in PLOS ONE, an unknown journal at the time
- “Publishing is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you gonna get!” – Jean-Michel Claverie on an experience with Science
- After opposite experiences with the same paper at two different journals, Wang Chao suggested a reviewer ranking system might help to standardise and improve the peer review process
Other Peer Review Week Community Highlights
Regular Contributor Juliano Morimoto compares the peer review process to Greek mythology on the Ecology & Evolution Community, and shares his experience as an author, reviewer and editor from the perspective of an early career researcher. Also on Ecology & Evolution, another one of our regulars Camille Delavaux considers how a paper travels through peer review and how ultimately this helps shape the final publication.
The editors at Communications Biology ran a series of posts across our Community sites for Peer Review Week all of which involved contributions from their editorial board. On the Microbiology site, Brooke LaFlamme discusses the role of peer review in science; Christina Karlsson Rosenthal shares some thoughts on achieving high quality peer review on Bioengineering; and back to the Ecology & Evolution Community with Dominique Morneau on the future of peer review.
In all of these comments and posts, the same things about peer review pop up repeatedly, all of which are somewhat obvious but are clearly being overlooked. If you agree to review a manuscript, then make sure to read the paper and be constructive with your comments but do not be rude or personally attack the authors. We’ll leave it there, until next year…
Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts and experiences!