Questions tagged [peer-review]

On the evaluation of work (typically, a publication or grant proposal) by the author's peers. This includes: refereeing, which is often used to determine an academic paper's suitability for publication in a journal or conference; peer evaluation of teaching skills; peer review of research grant proposals; and post-publication review of a book or article, as is common in the field of mathematics.

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259 votes
8 answers
23k views

A paper I received to review has (independently) duplicated work that we are writing up. How to proceed in light of peer-review confidentiality?

I did some research with some collaborators, and we have been writing an article ("paper A") describing the work. A few days ago I received a request to review an article ("paper B") that covers most ...
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148 votes
5 answers
17k views

What to do if a referee plagiarises the result after rejecting a paper?

I find myself in an awkward situation. Nearly two years ago I submitted a paper to a reputable mathematics journal. After 15 months it was rejected with the rationale that there had been papers ...
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136 votes
22 answers
36k views

Should I simply ignore it if authors assume that I'm male in their response to my review of their article?

I received a response about a manuscript I reviewed earlier, and the authors write about the reviewer (i.e., me) and his concerns. As a woman, I'm not so keen on this. Obviously this isn't ...
131 votes
12 answers
36k views

I am an editor for a lousy paper and I found a better algorithm than theirs. Must I share it with them?

I am handling a paper as an associate editor that proposed an algorithm that I find to be weak. In fact, I was able to show that a very simple, brute-force approach actually has a better running time ...
126 votes
7 answers
14k views

Asked again to review a paper, when the authors don't wish to modify it

I have received a manuscript to review for a journal. The interesting thing is, I had already reviewed this article (exact same title, abstract and author list, almost exact same content) for another ...
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116 votes
5 answers
11k views

If I request a paper through my university library, must they pay a substantial amount of money?

I was asked to referee a mathematics article, submitted for publication in a reputable journal. To evaluate it, I also wanted to look at a cited article which it claims to extend. Upon searching ...
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114 votes
10 answers
22k views

Editor rejected manuscript claiming it is similar to a not-yet-published manuscript (that I haven't seen). How to proceed?

A few months ago, I submitted a manuscript. After the reviews were completed I received a rejection decision from the Associate Editor (AE). The rejection was based on the basis of a single rejection ...
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106 votes
11 answers
14k views

Ethical concerns regarding the review of a paper on autonomous armed drones

I would like your suggestion on a delicate matter involving a paper that I am reviewing. I will avoid giving too many details to preserve anonymity. In this article the authors describe an algorithm ...
102 votes
10 answers
19k views

During peer-review, should I comment on the authors' messy code?

I'm reviewing a paper in pure mathematics. A lot of results in the paper depend heavily on computer computations, and the authors have provided in the article a link to the Magma code they used for ...
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96 votes
11 answers
21k views

Why is peer review so random?

8 Scientific Papers That Were Rejected Before Going on to Win a Nobel Prize Funding Analysis: Researchers Say NIH Grant Funding Allocation Seems No Better Than Lottery The same paper resubmitted to ...
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93 votes
13 answers
15k views

Is it OK to refuse to cite paywalled papers?

I wonder how reviewers would react if authors of a submitted paper refuse to cite paywalled papers. Is it a valid reason to refuse citing some papers? I am mostly interested in the field of computer ...
91 votes
9 answers
19k views

Referee says the proof is wrong, but it is not, what to do?

About 3 months ago, my co-author and I submitted a mathematical paper to a journal. Yesterday, we got the editor's response and the paper has been rejected. The reason is that the referee thinks that ...
86 votes
13 answers
14k views

What to answer an author asking me if I reviewed his/her paper?

Suppose I review someone's paper anonymously, the paper gets accepted, and a year or two later we meet e.g. in a social event and he/she asks me "did you review my paper?". What should I answer? There ...
85 votes
11 answers
44k views

Can I, as a reviewer, tell authors to get a native English speaker to proofread their paper?

I am reviewing a paper for possible publication in a respected journal. The English in the paper is very poor. The authors are clearly not native English speakers. I want to write something to the ...
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81 votes
12 answers
11k views

Why don't researchers request payment for refereeing?

One of the most criticized aspects of the current publishing scheme, is that academics do pretty much all the work for free and publishers get the money. Why don't people just charge a fee when ...
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80 votes
12 answers
20k views

Is it acceptable to use non-English references in a computer science paper?

I am currently reviewing an interdisciplinary computer science paper which is heavily based on previous works in logistics and process engineering that have been unfortunately published only in German ...
77 votes
6 answers
20k views

Is it okay to mention we're citing an article only because a reviewer told us to?

In a recent review, one reviewer said we must rework the paper in light of two other papers. One paper was a highly valuable suggestion, and we've enthusiastically taken it on board. However, the ...
77 votes
6 answers
62k views

Do you list journals you have reviewed for on your CV?

Is it acceptable to list the journals you have reviewed papers for on your CV? Is it common? Do you think it’s recommended? On the one hand, it shows that you are engaged in this necessary part of ...
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76 votes
6 answers
18k views

Can I correct a mistake that the reviewers didn't spot in a paper that has not been accepted yet?

Recently my paper was accepted pending major revisions (i.e., not yet accepted), and while following the reviewers' comments and revising my paper, I realized that both reviewers missed a mistake that ...
76 votes
4 answers
10k views

During review, I found a superior solution. What now?

I received a journal paper for a review. The paper suggests a solution to an important problem, but the solution is very complicated and has mediocre performance. While reading the paper, I thought of ...
76 votes
3 answers
4k views

A manuscript I refereed gave me an idea for a paper, not sure how to proceed

So, last week I refereed a paper for a journal. The paper in question is a reply to a previous paper by a different author: it points out a serious problem in the original paper and then proposes a ...
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75 votes
7 answers
10k views

Is it okay for a reviewer to share an under review manuscript with their colleagues?

In a research meeting I mentioned I was doing some peer-review for a conference and disclosed the general topic it was about, without any further details. Immediately my colleagues demanded I disclose ...
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75 votes
3 answers
14k views

How should I handle poor English in reviewing an article that claims to be proofread by two native English speakers?

I was asked to review an article written by non-native English speakers. I had never seen this before, but the manuscript includes a link to a certificate from a website called Textcheck that says: ...
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73 votes
10 answers
10k views

Is it common to review papers assigned to your supervisor?

Is it common to supervisors to email their students papers to review (which were apparently assigned to the supervisor, and not to the student). The field is Computer Science, but I would also like ...
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72 votes
13 answers
15k views

How is it possible that [insert known crackpot] has articles published in Peer-Reviewed Journals?

Note: This question is intended to be a generic version of something that gets asked occasionally on this site. I apologize for making it overly-contrived, but it's intended to be a generic template ...
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72 votes
8 answers
14k views

I got a paper to review from a journal that had rejected my earlier works, how to respond?

Recently, I got a paper to review for a journal (Elsevier) which is very reputed. The fact is that this journal had rejected two of my earlier works after keeping it under review for more than a year ...
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71 votes
6 answers
15k views

What to do if reviewers reject a paper without understanding the content?

One of my friends submitted a paper to a reputable communications journal and received some reviews a week back. The paper was rejected, but the review comments were abysmal: The language was so bad ...
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70 votes
7 answers
8k views

Should a paper be reviewed in entirety, if the introduction contains plagiarized passages?

I'm very new to being a peer reviewer. I agreed to anonymously review a paper for publication, and while reading it for the first time, I was a little annoyed by the writing style. It sort of reminded ...
69 votes
6 answers
12k views

Seemingly-irrelevant papers, all with author in common, suggested by reviewer

I recently received a decision letter calling for minor revisions prior to acceptance. One anonymous reviewer was extremely knowledgeable and provided many helpful suggestions to better explain and ...
68 votes
11 answers
75k views

Is it possible to submit a paper to a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal without PhD and get it accepted?

Is it possible to submit a paper to a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal without PhD? More specifically, what would be the bare minimum qualifications that would grant one the possibility of the paper ...
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67 votes
11 answers
14k views

How can I obfuscate my writing style when I review papers?

Does anyone have any good advice for obfuscating one's writing style when reviewing papers? I have a fear that I would inadvertently use the same turn of phrase in a referee report as in some ...
67 votes
9 answers
12k views

Journal published a paper, ignoring my objections as a referee

A few months back I received a request from a reputed journal to review an article. The article was in a fast-track mode because of its assumed importance. I did review it, and found that it makes ...
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66 votes
12 answers
13k views

Reject a paper based on relevant but pointless research direction

Disclaimer: this is a hypothetical question, not (immediately) related to any concrete past, present or future reviewed paper. My context is the no-fly zone between Computer Science and Applied ...
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66 votes
6 answers
12k views

What should raise red flags to detect fabricated data

In academia, there has been recently some cases that came to light of very well known scientists that have fabricated their data out of thin air. In some instances these papers have been cited many ...
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66 votes
6 answers
8k views

Should I accept review requests from dubious journals?

I'm a graduate student with, so far, one published article in a peer-reviewed journal. Since the article came out, I've been receiving increasing amounts of "academic e-mail spam" from people wanting ...
64 votes
4 answers
14k views

Colleague stole my work and is publishing it as his own; my PhD supervisor supports him; I got the paper to review. How to proceed?

By chance, I am reviewing now the paper which I recognised as a paper of my colleague. We are from the same institution and I am surprised that I got this paper to review, but, on the other hand, I am ...
64 votes
5 answers
156k views

What does a "major revision" mean?

I recently received the reviews/comments for an article submitted few months back to a journal. All the reviewers overall appreciated the content and the usefulness, but also suggested corrections (...
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63 votes
4 answers
8k views

What to do when I can prove a conjecture of a paper I'm peer reviewing

I was given a paper to peer review. A result of that paper has been obtained with some extrapolation trick and so they present it as highly plausible conjecture. It turns out that me and another ...
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61 votes
1 answer
6k views

I found a nontrivial mistake in my currently-under-review paper. Should I send a correction to the editor?

I submitted the paper to a respectable journal about five months ago. My field is mathematics, and I'm at the postdoc stage of my career. The proof of one of my theorems is more or less completely ...
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60 votes
12 answers
8k views

Handling unsolicited proofs of famous mathematical problems

I have been receiving mails from (most probably amateurs), who claims to have proved famous mathematical problems, like the ABC Conjecture or Goldbach Conjecture. But invariably, they all contained ...
60 votes
7 answers
8k views

Is requesting to change US units to SI units reasonable?

A paper I am reviewing very clearly originates from the US. The authors don't use SI units. As a European, I am always put off by non-metric units and I would like to request to change the units to SI ...
60 votes
3 answers
9k views

Why can't we just use platforms such as arXiv for proper peer-reviewed publishing?

Many of you will know that, whether per subscription fees or via open access models, there is a ridiculously absurd amount of money flowing to many big (or medium-size) publishers for getting our ...
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60 votes
4 answers
4k views

How to discourage irrelevant self-citation?

I once reviewed a manuscript whose authors cited many of their own published papers, which were not relevant to the subject of the manuscript. This kind of practice is evidently frowned upon by the ...
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59 votes
7 answers
13k views

Results that are too good to be true - peer review

So, I'm reviewing a medical study (open-label trial) that compares the efficacy of different drug doses on a patient population (heart failure). The study is arguably of low-quality, compared to the ...
59 votes
6 answers
9k views

Is it OK to review a paper which builds on my work?

Suppose I've written a paper which someone else (who I do not know) has built on. The new work is intimately related to mine; it would not have existed without my paper. I'm now asked to review the ...
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59 votes
9 answers
8k views

What prevents reviewers from providing biased and very negative reviews?

One of the fundamental features of science, maybe even the most important, is that publication of scientific results is peer-reviewed. I want to understand why peer review is effective in the ...
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58 votes
14 answers
14k views

Is it ethical to make an anonymous referee realize we know who he is?

A year ago we submitted a manuscript to a high-profile journal. I was a co-author. The review process for this journal is single-blind—that is, the authors do not know who the referees are, while the ...
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58 votes
8 answers
15k views

Is it normal that a peer reviewer would ask for an executable file in order to check my results?

I have just received a decision letter for my submitted manuscript to an Elsevier journal. It was a revise and resubmit. However one of the reviewer asked for an executable file in order to check my ...
57 votes
7 answers
10k views

Peer review: Is this "citation tower" a bad practice?

I am peer-reviewing an article "A" and I found something interesting. The authors use a mathematical lemma (which is just an inequality) for which they cite article "B". I have ...
57 votes
6 answers
14k views

Why does editor reject when reviewers recommend acceptance?

I have recently received a response for a paper submission. The paper expanded on a conference presentation, and it was submitted to the journal special issue related to that conference. All three ...
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