Archive | December, 2015

Be nice to editors who ask for your help

28 Dec

I just sent out a decision on behalf of a journal. It was a rejection, which made me a bit sad, but I am happy the task if off my to do list.

I haven’t often played the role of editor, but this manuscript I edited gave me a new appreciation for the work involved in editing. The decision for this paper was fairly easy because the two reviewers completely agreed. What was really hard was finding the reviewers! I ended up inviting 16 reviewers. 14 declined or didn’t answer, only the last two agreed to do the review.

I got a lot of help from the journal and many of the reviewers who declined helped by suggesting someone else who could do the review, but it was still a lot of (not very interesting) work and I am not very eager to do more editing any time soon.

I do plan to be nicer to the editors who ask for my help, though! Here are three things that we can all do that makes life for editors a little easier:

  1. If you’re going to decline to do a review, do so as soon as possible. If the invitation to review is just sitting in your inbox, this is really annoying for the authors and for the editor.
  2. If you can’t do the review, take a minute to suggest another reviewer to the editor. Chances are you know more people who could do the review than the editor does. Even if the name you jot down seems utterly obvious to you, the editor may not have thought of this person.
  3. If you could do the review, but not in the 10 or 14 days allotted to you, the editor is probably more than happy to give you more time, so you should ask.
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