Friday, December 12, 2014
Brutally Honest Referee Comments
Here are some occasionally amusing and often harsh referee comments from submissions to scientific journals. I have been both on the giving and receiving end of such things, such as the following gem that one of my papers was subjected to earlier this year. One of my PNAS referees wrote the following in the last line to summarize his/her review: "The results here represented a substantial step backward in terms of value and sophistication from the many published analyses that have already been published in Korean and/or English." (The referee never provided any example paper or author, and we were blown off by PNAS when we requested to have a name or reference as a starting point. We looked very thoroughly both before and after the submission to PNAS, and we could never find any such paper. At the end, though, our story has a happy ending: our paper is now happily residing in PRX, which is PNAS-level but for physics specifically.) (Tip of the cap to Joshua Bodyfelt.) Update (12/14/14): Here are a few more harsh comments from referees. A couple of these are amusing, but overall they aren't as good as the ones above.