I sent a article for reviewing before publication.

In the review I received, I had the following comment:

From very similar studies this reviewer knows well that [...]

This is the first sentence of a bullet list, with each item being largely independent of each other. There was no mention of a reviewer earlier in the review.

I have two questions:

  • It seems to me that "this reviewer" refers to... the reviewer her/himself. Am I correct? Of note, the reviewer may not be a native speaker.
  • Is it widely used? Especially compared to using "I" (just like other reviewers do)?
  • 3
    Not really a question about Academia
    – Alchimista
    Feb 4 '21 at 15:36
  • For your second question, see: academia.stackexchange.com/q/154165/19607
    – Kimball
    Feb 4 '21 at 22:26
  • 2
    This might be more suited for one of the English language sites. Feb 5 '21 at 3:15
  • It reminds me of military boot camp where the construct "This recruit" is preferred over "I".
    – emory
    Feb 5 '21 at 13:44

It refers to the reviewer writing the review. It's not that widely used (and personally I don't like it), but I have seen it in reviews, and as a native speaker I don't find it that unusual. It allows the reviewer to respond in the academic third person (a bit like saying "the authors" in a paper) - a grammatical construct to allow them to write with an academic tone.

Personally I just say "I think"!

  • 5
    "We" is not third person -- it is first person plural.
    – nanoman
    Feb 5 '21 at 8:01
  • It is possibly an overreaction to the often made assertion that a person should limit the amount of times they refer to themselves when discussing something to avoid seeming self important. It's certainly possible a non-native English speaker could consider this to be more strict of a rule than it actually is but I think anyone can fall in to a habit like that. In my case I was told not to start a sentence with "and" or "but" when I was in school and even though I've read it's acceptable I still jump through hoops to avoid it in my writing.
    – Eric Nolan
    Feb 5 '21 at 17:00
  • @nanomam well, if we can be singular as a pluralis majestatis, why can we not be third person in whatever is the opposite of pluralis majestatis?
    – DonQuiKong
    Feb 5 '21 at 22:15
  • @nanoman you're right, edited
    – Rdd
    Feb 5 '21 at 23:06
  • 2
    When I see or have used something like “this reviewer”, it’s often been a deliberate attempt to take emotion out of a contentious (or potentially contentious) disagreement between the reviewer and the authors.
    – RLH
    Feb 6 '21 at 6:58

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