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January 2, 2008

"both sides now"

My sister, Caroline Levine, has an essay in Inside Higher Education about the responsibilities of peer reviewers to the authors they evaluate. She begins:

When I was a struggling junior faculty member, every publication mattered so much that rejection letters felt like physical blows. And it wasn't only the brute fact of the rejections that caused pain: Readers' reports on my manuscripts were often written in a tone of sharp annoyance. Touchy and ill-tempered, they seemed to see only the flaws. It was as if I'd somehow insulted these readers, breaking rules that I didn’t know existed. There’s no question that I’ve had much to learn about framing, pursuing, and clinching an argument. But I've certainly never had any intention of irritating my readers.

Caroline doesn't argue that reviewers should be lenient or nice to would-be authors, but she makes the case for an ethic of respect.

January 2, 2008 8:03 AM | category: academia | Comments


I agree that there should be such an ethic, but it is sad cost of anonymity in my opinion. But I'd love a future post on something that you mentioned: what the unwritten rules of academic publishing are. I absolutely believe that they exist, but no one has let me in on the secret!

January 3, 2008 2:52 PM | Comments (1) | posted by Michael Weiksner

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