An editor’s dilemma

So you send a paper to a professor for a review. After months of constant pestering you don’t even get a reply. Eventually you give up and get the paper reviewed by someone else. Then, you receive a submission from said professor whose email apparently is working. What do you do?

7 thoughts on “An editor’s dilemma”

  1. I guess this explains why journals like BE Press have a refereeing obligation on all submitters, backed up by a big bond. Perhaps you should follow that approach?

    Failing that, just send it to some nitpicky grad student who you know will reject.

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  2. The editor could act according to the advice of one of my undergrad professors. When a classmate and I met with the professor to discuss how some of our group members were not contributing to a group project, the professor said that we needed to show our group members more LOVE. Our twenty-year-old selves couldn’t quite grasp the practically-geriatric professor’s true meaning, but, now that we are more experienced in the ways of academe, we understand that showing more love indeed can fulfill both idealistic and instrumental desires.

    Here’s a two-step “takin’ the high road to love” plan.

    1. The editor could email the prof. Thank them for their interesting* paper. Advise that the paper will be sent to reviewers as soon as possible, however, that first it would be helpful if the prof could confirm that they are able to receive emails from the editor’s email address. The editor could advise that they sent emails on various dates (listed below) and these seem to have gone astray. They could then say something about how it’s a little frustrating that all these new spamy filtery things seem to be a bit OTT, that the emails probably were caught in an over-zealous filter, and perhaps the prof could (1) confirm that they can receive emails, and 2. add the editor’s address any trusted email list that the prof may use. The editor could sign off with a statement reiterating how much they look forward to sending the paper to review.

    2. After receiving the prof’s reply, the editor could send the paper to reviewers who will give it all the attention it deserves. Reviewers should be those that are known for intensely engaging with each and every detail contained in a paper or those that are known for not being quick to judgment or, even better, reviewers should have exhibited both scholarly qualities.

    * The editor should not be so impolite as to substitute ‘interesting’ with ‘nice’.

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  3. You should have it refereed honestly and without prejudice. The quality of the paper has nothing to do with the author’s unreasonable stance on dealing with the manuscript – a aeparate issue.

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  4. I like Tanya’s part (1). The two issues are sort of separate, but the system only works if everyone contributes. Not replying to a request to referee at all is a bit rude, and it’s appropriate to gently point this out (and give the person the opportunity to say they were on holiday). But after that, got to behave impartially.

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  5. I only posed the question. The answer was I would blog about it and then send the paper off as usual. Of course, I may not be as diligent as usual about getting the reviews back on time.

    Just to emphasise here, it wasn’t just a holiday, I tried for nine months. And we were able to determine email was working by another means. So we have someone who last year received one email a week from the journal and then the next year submits to the journal. This is definitely a break in the social contract on these things.

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  6. Does ‘determine that email was working’ include determining that your referee messages weren’t going into a spam file?

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