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Do you review manuscripts? January 27, 2009

Posted by fetzthechemist in Musings.

Everyone wants to publish their research work. It is a requirement if you are an academician, and adds lustre if you are in another venue. Having others read of your work and their thinking it is good is satisfying. Even more so is having others use your publication as a basis for part of their own work.

Once you have done the writing and submission, you expect the publication process to make all of this possible. This happening relies on other people. You cannot help the editors and staff of the journals do their jobs, but you can fill a role that you rely on. For the publications of yours, you rely on two or three peers to review your manuscript. This implies that two or three scientists take to time to read your work thoroughly, assess it, check your results and references, and make recommendations.

As part of this system there is an explicit need for reviewers and an implicit request that you do as much as you expect others to give to you. Do you review two or three times as many manuscripts as you publish? Most scientists would have to answer :No”, hopefully with some embarassment. They are getting more than they give to the system.

To me, this is not an honorable situation. The worst offenders are those who publish a lot, but never review. Shame on them!



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