Thursday, October 9, 2008


Other people in the science blogosphere have blogged about article/paper reviews before, and I thought today might be my turn.

I got some reviews in the recent past, and one of the reviews has a criticism that is so ludicrous that I actually laughed when I read it. Many other bloggers have complained about how their reviewers clearly have not carefully read the paper, and thus had a particular complaint that was addressed and explained in another part of the paper. But this one....this one is just so basic that I laughed. NO ONE with a reasonable amount of experience (or if no experience, critical thinking abilities) would have reacted to how this person reacted to a particular facet of my paper. It is so ludicrous that it does not even warrant a sentence to explain. To think that what they think is a problem is just....the kid obviously is a junior grad student.

I am trying to think of a good example to explain the ridiculousness of this part of the review. Let's see....let's say you write a paper that uses some sort of a constant C in a larger methodology. In a blurb explaining your methodology, you expand the C out into its larger defintion so as to give context as to its origin, and all components to the definition are also constants. The complaint is then that in the larger methodology, it is too costly to keep computing C over and over again, and thus the entire methodology is flawed because it is so costly. This, when it is obvious that you can just precompute C, which is what anyone else would have assumed, and that is the value used in the methodology, rather than idiotically computing a constant over and over again.

At the same time, the vehemence with which they object to this particular aspect of my paper is also alarming. They even placed 2 exclamation points at the end of the sentence. I bet, as they get older/more knowledgeable, they will continue to be as vehement, and be seen as confident and correct when in fact, they are full of horseshit. This is not quite as funny, and I do not laugh at this.

The only thing that gives me hope is that I am confident that no review committee member could possibly take this seriously and it won't be the source of my not being accepted (though other reasons might). Sigh.

I am trying to decide if I should be snarky in my rebuttal and say something like, "I trust the review committee will ignore comment X from Reviewer Y due to the idiocy of the statement, and whosoever has this person as a graduate student will fire them immediately."

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