Having done a bad/inaccurate/sloppy referee report or being a bad referee for a high-ranking journal can influence the acceptance of a paper submitted to the same journal?

In other words, when submitting a paper, do editors take into account the past reviews of the paper's authors to decide whether the paper is publishable or not?

  • For a high-raniing journal, no effect. Indeed, for almost all journals, no effect.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 13:50
  • Not a duplicate, but you might find the answers to this question useful: "Can reviewing papers help increase your credibility as a researcher?" academia.stackexchange.com/questions/19395/… Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 14:10

1 Answer 1


In principle, an editor probably should not take one's prior performance into account, either as a reviewer or in any other capacity, and should judge solely on the current work. The workflow of most journals I have dealt with supports this notion, in that there is no way even to readily examine other actions by an author.

In practice, however, a) editors are human, and b) poor performance in one area is often an indicator of poor performance in another related area.

There are, however, two mitigating factors: first, there are often many editors, and second, for most editors you'd have to be mightily annoying to be memorable as a bad reviewer.

Bottom line: yes, if might affect your papers, but you probably shouldn't be particularly paranoid about it. Don't use this as an excuse for doing bad reviews, however: it's far better to withdraw honorably from a review you cannot do well.

  • +1 Well just some comments: one may have a poor performance in a review because the topic of the paper may be new to the reviewer, especially if he/she is at the beginning of his/her career and therefore not so experienced. Maybe one is not an expert on topic X when doing the review, and after some time the same guy can write a paper on the same topic X. As far as I understand from your answer anyway, editors do not care basically, unless the reviewer has done some very outstandingly memorable bad job. I agree with the bottom line.
    – sintetico
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 15:19
  • 1
    @sintetico If you don't know what the paper is about, don't agree to do the review!
    – jakebeal
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 15:20
  • 1
    @sintetico If you are not sufficiently familiar with the topic to do a good job, you should decline to do the review. Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 15:22

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