Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Rebuttal Letter

Dear Editor and Reviewers,

I do not know if you are well-meaning, but I invite you to re-read what you write before you send it to me, the author of the paper you were ostensibly reviewing oh-so-conscientiously.

Do not send me reviews with a plethora of typos and grammatical mistakes. Please use a spellchecker!

Do not send me something you obviously dashed off in half an hour after skimming my paper. I spent years writing the paper, I don't think it's asking too much for you to spend an afternoon reading it carefully, and god forbid, maybe even re-reading it before you write the review!

Do please consider, and I cannot reiterate this enough, that I spent years writing and rewriting and revising, rather laboriously, the experiments, data, and text of this manuscript. It just might be too much more work for me to now throw in an additional, pointless 'control' just because you think it would make the data set more complete, or something.

Do not use this as an opportunity to inform me that another paper has come out since I submitted my paper for your review, and then ask me to address this other paper. It is irrelevant what is in that other paper since we are contemporaneous, and it is only a fluke of our current internet-based system that you can even ask such a thing! Haven't you ever heard of Heisenberg?

Do not betray that you are my competitor by asking for the tiniest, most petty changes to figures and legends (and references to your own work).

Please, have an ounce of self-respect and respect for the system. I know you won't, but I'm asking anyway. This is supposed to be an objective, disinterested review. Recuse yourself if you know I'm your competitor!

And as I've mentioned before and will mention again, please let's consider standardizing the format of scientific papers. Chemistry already does it, quite well I might add. Furthermore, let's get rid of papers altogether and go to a pure database format, where we just submit one figure with a legend and a method. Then we can blog day and night to discuss what it might all mean. What do you think about that, huh?

Finally, let's kill this ridiculous argument about whether funding a free database of research would take away from funding (research dollars). We're already spending god knows how much research money to pay for journal subscriptions and publishing fees. Why NIH has to support scientific journals, I will never understand. It's not like we make up such a huge chunk of the economy that the value of the US dollar would crash if we suddenly put all the scientific journals out of business. Would it? Seems unlikely to me.

To hell with it. I just hope that journals go the way of the dodo and I won't need the skill of writing sufficiently slimy, suck-ass rebuttal letters thanking the reviewers for their 'thoughtful' comments. It's a bunch of bullshit.


Yours Truly, Dr. Sick-of-this system

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At 9:37 PM, Blogger Megan said...

Man can I empathsize with your post. Since I edited two different scientific journals, I know the system all too well. The first one way very professional, but still dealt with reviewers on ego trips with personal agendas. The second journal was a joke, and I personally feel that all those involved (with the exception of a couple people) were jokes too. Granted, I haven't actually submitted anything to an academic journal myself, but I know the people who do all too well. I only experienced someone pulling him or herself out of the review due to bias a handful of times even though it was evident. Journals suck. :)

At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Michael Koppelman said...

From my experience the things referees are most concerned with is that you reference their work! Seems petty and egotistical to me.

At 1:54 PM, Blogger DesiDivX said...

I am wondering if you've actually sent out this rebuttal letter or just venting out your frustration on the system here? either way i empathize with you, being there myself on several occasions.


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