Saturday, July 21, 2012

How do you established scholars deal with reviewers?

I was just curious for your thoughts.

I'm finishing a revise and resubmit for a paper with a co-author. I won't name the journal here, but the reviewer is fine - there's nothing in particular to complain about. But even with this good reviewer there are things he or she is suggesting we do that feel a little... tangential. I've gotten this impression from other reviewers - that they feel like they have to tell you something so sometimes they give you additional analyses that really don't add anything to the paper. I recently refereed an article and I suggested a fairly major additional analysis, but it felt necessary to me (I essentially said the author needed to redo the analysis with much more recent data which was available because by the time it was published the data used would be quite old). Perhaps my reviewers felt it was similarly necessary.

I try to accomodate as much as I can, but that may be because I'm a young guy that doesn't feel in a position push back. I have put my foot down on a few reviewer suggestions before. My co-author on this is much more in a "let's say nicely that we don't really need to do that" position. I think she's right on the merits, but I just feel like we've gotta do something for them (we do make lots of changes - I'm just talking about changes in the analysis). They never suggest that what we do is wrong. They just want us to do extra stuff.

How do you all handle revise and resubmits that you really don't agree with?


  1. Well, I'm not an "established scholar", but I can point you to one.

    Dr. Michael Emmett Brady has told me that he has had dealt with a lot of rejections from peer-reviewed journals. I'd e-mail him for advice.

  2. Submit!

    Do all the random changes that don't make the paper worse that the referee asks for, and do them enthusiastically...

    Do the (usually few) changes that would improve the paper even more enthusiastically...

    Take a look at the changes that would degrade the paper, and do as many of them as you can stand before you start to throw up...

    Look at the suggestions that are really demands to write another, different paper--and think about sending your original paper off to some other journal, writing the different paper, and submitting the different paper as the revise and resubmit...

    Do this all as quickly as possible.


    Brad DeLong


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