I am an editor of an academic journal. If I receive a review that makes valid points but is written in a very dismissive tone, what should I do?

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    I disagree with @CaptainEmacs 100%. I think it reflects badly on the journal to have reviews that you know come across in a bad way. I would rescind the review and ask them to write it better before passing on to authors. The same would be true if a review were particularly bad. Mar 23, 2017 at 19:10
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    @FredDouglis Ouch - I read it as a question asked by the author, not the editor. Sorry, you are completely right; the editor should at least prepend the comments with a disclaimer. I removed my comment. Mar 23, 2017 at 19:33
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    OK, great. user7289, would you prefer that I make my comment in the form of an answer? Mar 23, 2017 at 19:40
  • While I would appreciate an editor to distance himself from an aggressive review, I would not expect her to do so. Even an outright stupid review does not change my regard for a journal, as I cannot expect the editor to know the style of every reviewer, and possibly that particular reviewer is usually fast and reasonable. BTW the funniest review I got was essentially "I don't believe the theorem is true. I don't believe the theorem can be proven this way. But if it could, it would be trivial." Mar 24, 2017 at 9:47

1 Answer 1


I believe that you could: a) Explain to the reviewer that you find his or points valid but would like him or her to rewrite the review so that it is more constructive for the authors and therefore more likely to turn into meaningful edits, or b) find a new reviewer. Either way, I would discourage using this reviewer again, because authors find dismissive reviews discouraging and would especially discourage junior scholars who may have very significant research, but new to writing.

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