120

If the review is unclear, you should contact the editor for clarification, and not the referee. This would be true even if the peer review was not blinded. The editor is in charge of peer review.


81

The author owns the paper. They should consider any suggestions you make but need not implement any specific recommendation. Give up your "personal" feelings. That isn't your job. Re evaluate the paper on its merits and give it a fair assessment. You are, of course, allowed to repeat your old suggestions, but it is a mistake to judge it solely on ...


81

No you should not contact the suspected referee. You may think you're 100% sure but there is still a chance you're wrong. Also anonymous reviewing is there to give the referee a chance to be honest and critical and thus not fear retaliation if they reject a paper. You emailing them (if you have the right person) breaks this. Would you be as critical a ...


68

If you sent me the email, here is how I would reply: Dear High GPA I am not in the habit of telling people if I refereed their paper - that would be a most inappropriate thing for me to do, and it is similarly inappropriate for you to ask me to break the referee’s anonymity. So I cannot addresss any of your questions. If you need feedback about your paper, ...


52

Don’t. It is entirely inappropriate to contact a referee unless the editor has given you explicit permission to do so. (Conversely, as a referee it is inappropriate to contact an author unless you have the blessing of the editor.) If you think the report is unclear on some points, answer them to best of your ability and highlight in the cover letter to the ...


41

It is not your job to "let it through" or not - that is the job of the editor. Write a review that points out that the things you asked for have been changed or not, and say how important you believe these things to be. Certainly for referencing style and spelling/grammar, I would just point this out rather than making a judgement on it. Then let ...


40

Let me suggest that you do a proper review and somewhere, it doesn't really matter where, note that part of this is already settled and needs at least a citation of prior work. Since the work is old it may just be an oversight on the part of the authors as you suggest yourself. However, in mathematics, the reasoning behind a statement, the proof, is almost ...


31

If I understand your question, you're saying that Corollary B has already been proved half a century ago, but the authors are apparently unaware of it. If that's the case, you should point it out now, before you start reviewing. As you point out, the authors will probably have a lot to rewrite, which could make swathes of your review irrelevant. I would tell ...


23

There is no way you can be 100% sure based on writing style. Indeed, if such a writing style is so distinctive, another referee in your field could mimic it to deliberately mislead you. Several people have told me that they write their reviews to give the impression of being from a different country (US vs UK English, dropping articles to appear Russian, ...


19

I think you take too much responsibility for other persons' (presumed) actions. I'd say write in your review what you know (that the problem was settled before) and what you think (namely that Theorem A merits publication in its own right). Be as comprehensive as you like; certainly you help the author and maybe editor by providing some more detail, this ...


12

You say that Theorem A is publishable on its own, but is it publishable in the current journal? If not, I think the best outcome for the authors is to get a quick review explaining that Corollary B is already known, and consequently the results are not as strong as they think and you would recommend submitting a revised version to [some other journal]. They ...


11

Of course, it’s hard to be any certain without intimately knowing your work and you have to judge whether the referee’s request is any reasonable, but: This sounds like a request for Popperian falsifiability: The referee wants you to perform an experiment, analysis, or similar that – given your a priori knowledge – could reject the model. Obviously my null ...


11

This is a desk rejection. There's not much more to say about it - I suppose you could say that they haven't outright said your paper is incorrect, which is a positive; on the other hand they did also say that they are not considering your paper and you should submit elsewhere, which is effectively the same as rejection and certainly a negative thing. There's ...


9

From the letter, it simply seems that you did not submit to the right journal, which can happen to anybody and can be usually known only afterwards. They did not do a classical review process with reports so nothing can be deduced about the quality of the paper. The good new is that they replied rather quickly so that you can start the submission in an ...


8

As said by others, your contact point for the review process is the editor and, if your are not happy with him/her, the editor-in-chief. Adding to that. Nobody prevents you to ask any trusted peer for opinions on your research progress. If you feel like doing this with the person in point, you ought to reframe such an initiative so as to clear any appearance ...


8

I agree by and large with the two answers already given by Buffy and Ian Sudbery. However I'd like to say something more on who should do what. It is true that ultimately it is the author who decides what they want to have in the paper, and you cannot enforce them to do anything. It is also true that as a reviewer you do not have the ultimate responsibility ...


7

Ignore the "complications". It is overthinking the purpose of double blind review. If you want to ask them questions about their paper it is perfectly ok to do so. After all, anyone in your field could be your reviewer in a double blind process. You don't need to be paralyzed just because you submit a paper. If there are any ethical issues they are ...


4

I do second the other answers given in this post. I wish to make a point about the communication channels in the peer-reviewing process: the authors always address the editor; the reviewers always address the editor; the authors and reviewers never address each other regardless of whether matters of contention arise on the manuscript ("the authors are ...


4

You know the luggage locks people buy for their suitcases when travelling? They look good, they're reassuring to have, they supposedly deter people from stealing the suitcase because they can't open it. But it shouldn't be surprising that they are ineffective: after all, to open the suitcase in spite of the lock, all one needs to do is cut up the suitcase ...


3

There is a great positive in this letter: they are telling you that your work is too specialized. Being specialized is good in science and in academia, and, as Thomas Kuhn indicated, is the common tendency in the sciences. You usually need to be specialized in any higher education field. Just look for a more specific journal. They even tell you which kind ...


3

The best you can do is to reply to the comments of the referees the best as you can and try to convince the editor that your paper is sufficiently novel for PRL. Try to answer very polite but on the other hand with some strong arguments. I would rather stay on the factual level about your paper and not start to discuss a relationship of referee A and your ...


3

It's been many years since I've been in Academia, so I may be wide of the mark, but my interpretation of what the referee is saying – loosely speaking – is that your experimental data is "too easy" on your hypothesis. While your experiments tend to suggest the hypothesis might be true ("results tried to confirm [...] the model"), they do ...


2

Even if the backlog answer was true, it could take many months to clear it out. I would submit to another journal.


2

When reviewing it doesn't hurt to be practical as well: What would serve the author best in this case? Does this create extra work (resp. fewer rewards) or mean less work for you? In this case, it sounds like conveying the valuable information of a prior proof to the author would let them decide whether to rewrite the paper (the most likely outcome, you say) ...


2

Certainly someone with no first-author papers (or indeed no papers at all) can be asked to act as a reviewer. However, I think it is relatively unlikely, if only because it can be hard for the editor to be confident what expertise that person actually has (perhaps they're the statistics guru and don't know anything much about reaction pathways in ...


1

The editor should be happy to receive this:
 I believe the author should change their paper substantially, in light of Corollary B having been solved in XXX, and I think this should be communicated to the author forthwith. XXX is a publication of a far away field so it’s not surprising it was overlooked. So it seems inappropriate to write a fully detailed (...


1

Most journals allow this, probably pretty much all of them. If you look at a journal's Guidelines for Authors, they should normally state that this is fine (occasionally it is probably elsewhere but this information should be given on the journal's website). For example, "Statistics in Medicine"'s guidelines say "Statistics in Medicine will ...


1

There's a high chance resubmission will not work. That's because the review says there are two issues with the paper: The proofs are straightforward, and The proofs are not written out well, taking many more lines than necessary. #2 is a purely presentation issue. #1 can be interpreted in a few ways (see the linked question) but I would guess at the second ...


1

How can I get feedback on unpublished scientific articles if I have no direct connection with anyone qualified in my field? Make contact with those qualified in your field. As an undergraduate, without a reputation, don't expect top-professors to be interested. Aim lower. Personally, I'd suggest a top PhD student or a top postdoc. Someone who's work you ...


1

When I was a Ph.D. student (c. 20 years ago), there was a member of the PRL editorial team who used to tour universities giving talks on how to succeed in getting published in PRL. IIRC, his main thesis was that the chance of success is improved by giving the manuscript a "self-similar structure" whereby it made the same set of points three or ...


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