“Any jackass can trash a manuscript….”

“….but it takes good scholarship to create one.”

This title is taken from an editorial in Molecular Biology in the Cell which basically admonishes poor refereeing techniques and lays out how these should be done and how both editors and authors should deal with them. It’s all very, very good stuff, I just hope people pay attention to it. If only more people or journals went with this kind of thing.

It’s always nice when you shout about various things quite loudly (like this, this and this) and then see that quite independently in a rather branch of study the same problems are being felt and the similar solutions proposed.

Thanks to Graeme Lloyd for putting me onto it.

6 Responses to ““Any jackass can trash a manuscript….””

  1. 1 Mike Taylor 24/05/2011 at 9:46 am

    That is an outstanding article. Coming from the Editor-in-Chief of a respected journal (Impact Factor 10.051 according to this page), it can’t be written off as the bitter complaint of a rejected author. I highly recommend reading it — it’s only two pages.

    • 2 David Hone 24/05/2011 at 10:02 am

      It is superb and short and sweet. I especially like the fact that he also notes the critical role editors should play in moderating both sides. A bad referee is a bad referee but the editors need to control them or act as a judge for arguments between the referees and authors, not just pass their comments on and demand the author correct them all.

  2. 4 Kilian Hekhuis 24/05/2011 at 12:21 pm

    It is surprising (or perhaps not, in which case merely disappointing) that such an editorial needs to be written, as it seems all so very basic. But then again, I’m not a scientist, and the only reviews I did were graduation of fellow students and friends, which is not quite the same.

  3. 5 Heinrich Mallison 24/05/2011 at 12:42 pm

    I agree that this editorial should be totally unnecessary – the fact that it is necessary and a must-read speaks volumes about science reviews!

    In my experience, many reviewers attempt to write fair and balanced reviews, but then get carried away. Mike’s (? was it you?) Golden Rule of reviewing applies: Do not ask the author to write a DIFFERENT paper.

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