186 votes

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

Given your description it sounds like your group actively tried to intimidate the referee with veiled threats of retribution. If this is indeed the case, then, yes, this is extremely unethical ...
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  • 8,472
138 votes

Is it normal for a reviewer to comment about suitability for publication after addressing their comments?

Yep, this strikes me as perfectly normal. They delivered their opinion in a clear way that also suggests what their recommendation would be on the next revision. Frankly, I don't even see what you ...
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107 votes

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

Since in a comment you state the message we wanted to send him with such a rebuttal letter was like, "Hey, we know who you are, and you know that we as a large group are going to referee many ...
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  • 7,446
101 votes

Is it normal for a reviewer to comment about suitability for publication after addressing their comments?

Yes, you are being too sensitive. It's perfectly normal for a reviewer to give their recommendation; the editor may even ask them explicitly for this. It doesn't matter if the editor ultimately ...
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  • 70.5k
93 votes
Accepted

I feel bad about rejecting a paper during review

I decided to 'weak reject' the paper No you didn't. It is the editor that rejects the paper, or not. You merely provided input based on your technical expertise, which it sounds like you did in good ...
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  • 52.7k
91 votes
Accepted

Results that are too good to be true - peer review

In a comment on @Buffy’s answer, you wrote: […] my thinking is that it would be wrong to reject these researchers purely on the suspicion of falsified data - after all, I could be wrong. There is a ...
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  • 171k
79 votes

Results that are too good to be true - peer review

Say to the editor what you say here. You can't prevent the publication, but you can be honest. Even if there is no foul play, if the results are anomalous then there are probably methodological ...
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  • 271k
75 votes
Accepted

What to do if a reviewer's question is nonsense

You should not ignore the comment --- just respond to it in a polite and sober manner and state the facts. If the comment doesn't make sense to you then it is likely that it also won't make sense to ...
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  • 46.1k
63 votes
Accepted

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

There are Diamond open access journals (which are free to both author and reader) run as arXiv overlay journals. An example in my area is Logical Methods in Computer Science, which is generally well-...
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  • 32.5k
63 votes

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

Even though you state that the cited papers were not irrelevant to the contents of your paper, citing them just to let a reviewer know you found out their identity (and implicitly nudging them towards ...
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62 votes

Can I recommend rejection of a paper after simply reading its Abstract and Introduction?

It is of course possible that a single portion of a paper will be sufficient for rejection, so you can recommend rejection on the basis of a single part alone. However, you should remember that the ...
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  • 46.1k
61 votes

Can I contact an author I reviewed for a typo in his manuscript without saying I'm his reviewer?

That is probably a bad idea. But you can ask the editor to make the request instead. They won't want typos in the final result. In general, communication with authors should be through the editor. Not ...
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  • 271k
60 votes
Accepted

I just got invited to referee an article! Is it OK to share this achievement on social media?

Congrats! I wish more people would be excited about being a reviewer. Personally, I would only say the journal's name (e.g., TheAwesomeJournal). For example: Yay! Just got invited to be a reviewer ...
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57 votes

Is it normal for a reviewer to comment about suitability for publication after addressing their comments?

They are not trying to be a gatekeeper. They are actually being helpful to you. They are saying that if you deal with these comments, they won't make any more comments - they will just tell the editor ...
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  • 2,372
56 votes
Accepted

Is requesting to change US units to SI units reasonable?

The International System of Units has a universal value, and if the paper is written for an international audience then, yes, ask the authors to change the paper to conform to the SI. Check also the ...
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  • 52.8k
56 votes

I just got invited to referee an article! Is it OK to share this achievement on social media?

Please do not share the email, that would be unprofessional. Many journals take great care in deciding what information about their internal operations to make public, and which details to keep ...
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  • 171k
56 votes

How to tell reviewers that I can't update my results

A frequent response in experimental fields goes something like: "We appreciate the reviewer's suggestion to use the 'X' technique, and do believe this could lead to an interesting extension of ...
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54 votes
Accepted

Should I tell the editor I'm declining a review invitation because the authors are hostile about feedback?

As you feel apprehension over the refereeing process here, and the expected responses of the authors you definitely should decline the referee request. This is both for your own sake, but also because ...
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  • 32.5k
53 votes

Should I tell the editor I'm declining a review invitation because the authors are hostile about feedback?

Reviewing is a purely voluntary activity that you are providing for free. In particular by reviewing a work, your are doing both the journal and the authors a favour (regardless whether you recommend ...
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  • 8,472
51 votes

Should I review papers according to my conviction about correct methodology or according to the usual methodology applied in published papers?

As a peer reviewer, you should offer your own assessment of the manuscript at hand. This way, you contribute to and possibly advance the field. If you just followed what others did common mistakes ...
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  • 6,806
51 votes

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

I thought that some answers were very harsh, until I read one of your comments about the rationale for the form of your rebuttal: to tell between the lines to the reviewer Hey, we know who you are, ...
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  • 7,009
48 votes
Accepted

What does "Check the proof of theorem x" mean as a comment from a referee on a mathematical paper?

Since the theorem is one you have proved yourself, it should be included in the paper (either in the body or an appendix, depending on its importance to the main stream of argument) or it should be ...
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  • 46.1k
47 votes
Accepted

What goes into a proper review of a paper?

In my field, all reviews that I perceive as "high-quality" follow a certain structure: Summary of the paper (one paragraph) High-level remarks that justify your recommendation to accept/...
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46 votes
Accepted

What are the ethics of reviewing a paper, spotting issues, not raising them in the review, and then trying to publish a paper on the issues?

This seems very unethical as you describe it. I would write immediately to the editor, informing them of what has happened. The editor knows who the reviewer was, of course. It is possible that you ...
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  • 271k
45 votes

Is requesting to change US units to SI units reasonable?

If it's in fields I am familiar with, using metric is mandatory and no reviewer should let a paper through that does not use metric. However, some metric units are not SI and may be acceptable. In ...
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43 votes
Accepted

Rebuttal: directly address reviewers with "you"?

All these things are going to be personal preference, but my take on this is that you are addressing the editor, not the reviewers. Firstly, it is the editor that has the final say, and the editor ...
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  • 30.6k
43 votes

Data used for analysis is not free. What should I do as a reviewer?

The journal asked me if data are accessible and if are adequate to allow replication. That is easy to answer: "The data is only accessible if a fee is payed as mandated by the data's license. I ...
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  • 7,333
42 votes
Accepted

Rejection only because of incremental publication (salami slicing)?

To recommend that a paper should not be accepted to a conference or journal because it is not novel enough relative to the existing literature is one of the most standard reasons for making such a ...
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  • 171k
42 votes
Accepted

Should I review papers according to my conviction about correct methodology or according to the usual methodology applied in published papers?

I would approach the issue with an open outcome: Don’t demand that the authors do X, but ask them why they don’t do X and request at least a justification for not doing X (in the manuscript). For an ...
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  • 51.7k

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