Fringe benefits of peer reviewing

No! I do not mean “You can have free access to our journals for an year using this code; thanks for reviewing for us” mails that you get when you finish reviewing. ArunN makes an important point that FSP missed in her post on the benefits of peer reviewing:

Female Science Professor in Review well or die discusses the losses incurred by bad peer reviewing. According to her:

Bad reviewers and review-shirkers are annoying, especially since they rely on the reviewing work of others to get their own papers published, but I don’t think there should be any major overt punishment of bad reviewers. Although it may seem that review-shirkers are getting away with something, they are losing the opportunity to play a role in the peer review process, to be a constructive influence in their field, and to be respected by editors and others for their reviewing wisdom and efforts. That’s their loss, and an appropriate consequence for being a bad reviewer.

She misses one more important loss.

Peer reviewing provides an early peek into what is going on in your field of research expertise. As a researcher, this gives you invaluable insight about the cutting edge of your research field and what your peers are actually working on.If you do a bad peer review thereby stop receiving review requests eventually, but expect to do good research, you actually deprive yourself of this vantage of constant touch with the cutting edge.

And, ArunN goes on to argue that this vantage is true even if the paper itself is not cutting edge. I can not agree with him more.

2 Responses to “Fringe benefits of peer reviewing”

  1. gaddeswarup Says:

    This assumes that there is some integrity in the submitted article. I have seen cases long difficult incomplete papers put on eithr archives or submitted to journals with motives other than expecting a fair evaluation. One motive seems to be preempt others and the other to get suggestions to see their way through the muddle. This happened with a number of cases in mathematics papers by even brilliant people. There were papers which were extensively revised over years using other papers that appeared after the first versions and even promotions based on the first drafts. I guess that ‘truth’ will eventually come out but there are papers which appeared in archives around 1996 and publications based on them whose status is still not clear to me.

    • Guru Says:

      Dear Swarup:

      I agree; in these days of publication madness, lots of such things happen. However, once in a while, we do get to see a nice paper from some sincere workers which experience makes the entire reviewing process worth your while — just for that early peek.


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