8/05/2008

Can you thank a reviewer?

Maybe this is a rookie question - most certainly it is - but when you learn very much about your own work from sending a paper off to review, is there an appropriate way to acknowledge someone who spent more time (and expertise) working on your paper than the co-authors have done? A way to thank a reviewer who has acted as an advisor?

Answer: Don't send off a chapter of your thesis to a journal.

Answer #2: If it's not rejected outright, on the basis that it is just a chapter of your thesis, and it takes a very long time to rewrite and re-review same, feel lucky, and improve.

ps. Will I outgrow the stage when I need this kind of help?
Answer #3: Only if I publish only where I am comfortable - not a near term option, given my recent research activities.

pps. Can I write a review which is simultaneously direct, stringent, rigorous and supportive? Especially when I am sent a paper to review which is clearly a chapter of somebody's thesis?

Answer #4: I must work on this point.

7 comments:

Kim said...

Every paper I've written thanks the reviewers in the acknowledgments. (And my thesis chapters were submitted to journals before they became thesis chapters, and the reviews were still rough. Though in my case, a couple of the reviewers wanted me to change me conclusions to support their ideas, rather than to the conclusions supported by the data. Fortunately, each paper also had an editor who was critical in useful ways, and helped me improve my writing.)

BrianR said...

I had a reviewer give me very thorough and diligent reviews ... definitely made the paper better. I ended up sending him an e-mail thanking him (I had already meant him once before, which helped)... he appreciated the note.

JF said...

Most papers I read these days appear to thank the reviewers, sometimes in a most unsincere way -- to the point that it tends to become a near obligation. I even reviewed a paper lately, who had already the acknowledgments section ready, it read "we thank ... and ... whose reviews helped improve the manuscript". Before it was even reviewed! (if you want to know -- I happened to suggest outright rejection for that one. You do not need to thank me, all the pleasure was mine).

You also have some fairly subtle ways to finely tune the gratitude you express, as in "We thank XXX, whose review greatly helped to improve the ms, and an anonymous reviewer" (whose review did not help??).


All this said, I tend to thank reviewers only when I think they helped, and to keep silent otherwise.

Trifarina said...

Yeah, thanks for nothing dirtbag!
(I wished I could have written that once... or something saltier)

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