Peer review

Writing good, constructive reviews is hard–almost as hard as reading them. Here are some tips for writing reviews well.

  • One piece of advice that I really liked was to write the review as though you’re writing it for a colleague or your own student. This forces you (one hopes) to be honest yet constructive.
  • Ten tips on review writing from Brian Lucey
  • And if ten isn’t enough, twelve tips from Henry Roediger III

Maybe later I’ll post some egregious reviewer comments that I’ve collected over the years. Three common themes:

  • Insulting the author’s level of experience by implying that some senior person should rewrite the paper, or saying that a paper is a “nice student paper.” It’s either a nice paper or it’s not a nice paper.
  • Not liking the theoretical implications of the results, so stating that said results are either so obvious as to be uninteresting, or the outcome of an extremely flawed paradigm (sometimes both).
  • Suggesting a different analytic technique. While this is sometimes licensed, it often (to me) feels like blind adherence to statistics fads–analyses that people try out that may offer improvements over other more standard techniques, yet introduce coding and interpretation problems of their own (including how to get the reader to interpret the results accurately).