Last year, in October, an exceptionally weak paper was published in Nature. The publication of such a piece in a top journal was a clear violation of peer-review standards. Despite the title and publication in a reputable journal, this paper did not provide any evidence.

My attempts

I guess, I was the first to submit a Brief Communication Arising to Nature just a week after the initial publication. My comment was rejected two weeks later, and I published it in Publons system. I see that up until now there has been no clear statement in the peer-reviewed academic literature of the flawed nature of Dong et al paper.

The question

What is the best way to publish a critical comment on a paper published in top journal, if that journal rejected the comment?

I believe, it is very important to publish the critical comment in a peer-reviewed journal. However, usually journals are only willing to consider critical comments on the papers published in their pages.

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    Was there any reason given for the rejection of your response?
    – user70612
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 15:33
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    It would be nice if in this day and age all journals would provide an online venue for discussion of their own articles. I think USENIX started doing this for their conferences a while back. But in this case, I agree with @Saturnus, looks like OP took the path available and should leave it there. Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 17:02
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    Yes, I am happy with Publons - it's a nice platform. But the thing is, it seems, in academia only peer-reviewed pieces are valued. Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 17:06
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    Valued for what? Do you want to publish this because you think it is important for people to know, or because you need publications on your CV? Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 17:13
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    @Tobias do you often see academic papers citing not peer-reviewed texts? In this context, I want my comment to be viewed as a part of academic literature. This way it will be known to the relevant audience Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 17:17

2 Answers 2


Do you know what is the best way to publish a critical comment on a paper published in top journal if that journal rejected the comment?

In another top journal. But your comment "have take a form of an independent paper" as Alexey wrote.

Check those two examples from Computer Science field. First (1) from ICSE, Software Engineering community top venue, where Monperrus offers a critical review on others' paper. Second (2), Arapakis et al. challenge the results reported in Bandari et al.

In my opinion, you should go for a peer-reviewed paper, which is a very noble form of scientific debate.

  • place to start could be PubPeer. It's not exactly what you want but, quoting Wikipedia:

(t)he site is one of many allowing academics to engage in post-publication peer review, and has highlighted shortcomings in several high-profile papers, in some cases leading to retractions and to accusations of scientific fraud, as noted by Retraction Watch.

  • Done long ago. That's not the point of my question Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 7:02
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    @ikashnitsky, why do you insist on publishing your critical comment in a peer-reviewed outlet? PubPeer is still a good place for such flagging purposes.
    – anpami
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 18:47

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