Research papers – reviewing and being reviewed

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Category : Medical Rants

I have spent much time the past 3 weeks working on revisions. My colleagues and I have done a study (which we believe is important and newsworthy) and submitted it to a journal. The journal asked for a resubmission. As we worked on the revisions, the paper is more readable and understandable. As we read the comments from reviewers we saw a striking contrast.

As you might imagine I have likely reviewed many more than 100 papers during my career. Reviewing papers is challenging. I try to suppress my biases, but that is difficult.

There are clear styles in reviewing. One is viewed by the authors as “nit-picky”. These reviewers point out many minor issues, and sometimes seem to create issues with the paper. Another style is big picture. These reviewers try to interpret the gist of the study and evaluate its likely contribution to the literature. I will not even mention clueless reviewers.

I have been all three types. I understand the reviewing is a flawed art. This article says it dramatically. Papers that triumphed over their rejections

Writing and reviewing is time consuming. We all do the best that we can – authors and reviewers.

My colleagues and I hope our hours of writing, revising, looking up further references and discussing each issue will result in an excellent paper. The process has kept me busy and hindered my blogging efforts this past week.

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