This is NOT reality TV

Refereeing is about community. We use peer-review as a gate-keeping device. But too often these days that seems to mean slamming the gate shut instead of standing at the gate with a welcome kit.

Too many referees for journal articles, conference papers, etc., are playing AMERICAN IDOL with the role. You know what, your job is not to refuse everything egotistically. Your job even is not to refuse things that you think are flawed.

Your job is to tell people who have legitimate contributions how to make them fit into the domain. Because ultimately our collective job is to secure and promote the domain. If you refuse every abstract or manuscript you see you will shut the door so firmly the domain will die.

So the next time you are tempted to say “NO NO NEVER” to a proposal, stop to think how you would feel if you were the author. What will you have learned from that response? Never to come back, likely.

Now, I have had recently an instance of reviewing the same text for a journal and a couple of conferences. That’s a no-no. Don’t submit the same thing in multiple venues. And if you can’t think of a second way of phrasing your point, it probably isn’t worth making it twice.

But aside from that, the rest of us need to get focused on how to build our domain. Saying “that is not KO” is not helpful. Saying “this is interesting but it needs to cite X and Y ” is helpful.



Posted March 15, 2011 by lazykoblog in journals

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