“Peer Review”

Peer review

Yesterday I received a reviewer invitation to peer-review an article, and I was reminded of a twitter conversation I had a week or so back with colleagues about the tendency of reviewers not to provide any positive feedback and focus solely on the paper’s weaknesses, which can be pretty disheartening for the author.   Not sure why this is the case – maybe reviewers come to the task already feeling grumpy about what can seem like a thankless task.

Just in case you are wondering – No, my reviewer invitation did not come with beer and cheesecake!

However, donations are welcome.


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  1. June 4, 2016

    Love! your bitstrips! And, I’ll bring the cheesecake if you bring the beer 🙂

    • Karen
      June 9, 2016

      Sounds like we need a communal peer review session!

  2. June 9, 2016

    I reckon the reason this happens is that people are busy and they just smash out these reviews without thinking about how they are received. I try to apply the ‘feedback sandwich’ rule that I apply with marking. Start with something nice, tackle the tough stuff, and finish on a positive. But in both marking and reviewing, I have to make a conscious effort to do this and not just be an efficiency fiend.

    • Karen
      June 11, 2016

      Hi Kate, thanks for your comment. I think you are right about people being busy. I also apply the sandwich rule, although I did have a moments hesitation about it when I read this article. I don’t really agree with it though, and it is also more about giving feedback in a work management situation rather than marking or peer review. Interesting nonetheless.


      • June 11, 2016

        That’s a really interesting post! Thanks for sharing. I have one memory of getting feedback on my writing where the feedback was all criticism and the fact there was so much of it and no positives meant I thought there was no way I could succeed and it wasn’t til someone else stopped me and said ‘you know this is good work, and these are tweaks, right?’ that I was able to look objectively at the feedback. I don’t think we should feel obliged to give positive feedback but I think it should be balanced, including good elements too, unless it’s explicitly framed as being focused on areas where improvement is needed. The psychology of feedback! Interesting stuff!

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