Monday, 25 May 2020

To review or not review, that is the question.


I tweeted about a dilemma earlier this week. It's a familiar tale. 

In the last few months, I've reviewed 3 papers for a specific journal. Since January, I am also a co-author of a paper that is under review at the same outlet. Actually, and to be completely transparent, our paper has been reviewed as far as I can tell, but it has now spent more time on a desk than with reviewers. 

A colleague emailed politely asking if the paper would be sent out for review in Feb after it sat for a month with no activity. I emailed again asking for an update on our paper earlier this month. The journal office claims to forward emails on, but we receive zero response from any editor. 

What do you do?



The problem with not reviewing is that I am making things worse for authors who deserve to have their paper reviewed in a timely fashion. In saying that, the very same journal also has a habit of giving reviewers a set number of days to complete a review and then cancelling the review before the due date. 

And then they wonder why they can't get reviewers!

Going against the grain, I have accepted the review request (and now I've blogged about it as well - sorry). 

Anyway.....I should really let this go, but the injustice of it annoys me. My junior co-authors deserve something from the whole process rather than a wall of silence.

Despite huge advances in the open science agenda, many journals like this remain disorganised with zero transparency or accountability. It also rubs salt in the wound when papers co-authored by editors appear to sail through the review process. 

Honestly, what message does that send to the community who serve your journal? 

I grow weary of editors who are clearly asleep at the wheel. This affects every author and reviewer and I have written before about the distinction between editors who rightly want to to give something back to the academic community and those who are using it as a line of their CV without lifting a finger.  

Anyway...I should really let this go. But before I do....

I decided to see if the publisher had ever purchased the domain name of the journal in question. I naively assumed that publishers or editors might check on this for journals that have been around for awhile, especially where technology is a core focus. 

They haven't.

I am pleased to say that I am now the proud owner of the domain name associated with this specific journal (.com naturally). 

If you want to guess which journal I've been talking about, try going to that URL. 

A correct guess will point straight to my personal website. 

However, I should warn you that after getting carried away, I now own a variety of domain names for journal titles that specialise in technology and psychology.

Stay safe.

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