Dec 11, 2010

Want to have some fun? Do some peer reviewing for a scientific journal!

Photo by Patrick Bell
Every December, the journal Environmental Microbiology publishes a collection of humorous quotes made by peer reviewers while assessing manuscripts submitted to the journal. Some of them are hilarious! I am extracting a few of them from the last two years, but I recommend reading them all!

Here you go:

Desperate referees:

This paper is desperate. Please reject it completely and then block the author’s email ID so they can’t use the online system in future.

The biggest problem with this manuscript, which has nearly sucked the will to live out of me, is the terrible writing style.

The writing and data presentation are so bad that I had to leave work and go home early and then spend time to wonder what life is about.

The finding is not novel and the solution induces despair.

Desperate authors:
WOW! You did ‘read it with interest’ in SEVEN MINUTES??!! [Ed.: this is an author contribution in response to an editorial decision (rejection) made within 7 min of submission]

freddemasi on Twitter

Holiday season:
Done! Difficult task, I don’t wish to think about constipation and faecal flora during my holidays!

The peaceful atmosphere between Christmas and New Year was transiently disrupted by reading this manuscript.

Merry X-mas! First, my recommendation was reject with new submission, because it is necessary to investigate further, but reading a well written manuscript before X-mas makes me feel like Santa Claus.

Season’s Greetings! I apologise for my slow response but a roast goose prevented me from answering emails for a few days.

Technical issues:
[...] maybe some beetle took a pee on one or the other of the samples [...]

You call the sample fresh water, this is confusing as it is saline water.

The trees are crap but, besides this, excellent work.

Writing style:
You know there is something important there but the language is so inaccessible that you cannot make up your mind if they are trying to hide something or they actually think that is a good style of writing.

This manuscript gets the title ‘worst written manuscript of the year reviewed by DJ’

The writing style is flowery and has an air of Oscar Wilde about it.

Great manuscripts:
This is a long, but excellent report. [...] It hurts me a little to have so little criticism of a manuscript.

I perused this manuscript while in the hotel prior to a friend’s wedding. I was suspicious that a state of relaxation had influenced my enjoyment of a paper on soil formation; so I read it again, this time squashed between two large people on the delayed flight home, and still enjoyed reading it.

Very much enjoyed reading this one, and do not have any significant comments. Wish I had thought of this one.

It is always a joy to review manuscripts such as this. Well-conceived, well executed, well edited. Clean. Pristine. From start to finish.

- Referees' quotes – 2010. Environmental Microbiology (2010) 12, 3303–3304.
- Referees' quotes – 2009. Environmental Microbiology (2009) 11, 3309–3310.

Image credits:
Image (desperate schoolboy) modified from a photo by Patrick Bell. Source: Flickr. This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
blog comments powered by Disqus

Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, blog posts by Cesar Sanchez in Twisted Bacteria are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Please let me know if any quotes or images on this blog are improperly credited. E-mail: TwistedBacteria AT gmail DOT com . Social media icons by Oliver Twardowski and AddThis.