Friday, April 4, 2014

Refereeing papers (by Gabriel Rossman, UCLA) is the URL for Gabriel Rossman's blog, and his current post is about refereeing. Here is some of it:

Rather, fixing peer review has to begin with you, the reviewer, telling yourself “maybe I would have done it another way myself, but it’s not my paper.” You need to adopt a mentality of “is it good how the author did it” rather than “how could this paper be made better” (read: how would I have done it). That is the whole of being a good reviewer, the rest is commentary. That said, here’s the commentary.

Do not brainstorm
Responding to a research question by brainstorming possibly relevant citations or methods is a wonderful and generous thing to do when a colleague or student mentions a new research project but it’s a thoroughly shitty thing to do as a peer reviewer. There are a few reasons why the same behavior is so different in two different contexts.
First, many brainstormed ideas are bad. When I give you advice in my office, you can just quietly ignore the ideas I give you that don’t work or are superfluous. ...

GR goes on with lots of detail, all very interesting. [Rossman is associate professor of sociology at UCLA.]

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