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This is a very informative post, thanks!


Thank you! This is so helpful.

Tom Cochrane

Hi John
Have you ever considered giving credit for good referees, e.g. by awarding points that can be displayed on your website? This could be both very motivating, and helpful as feedback.

John Greco

Hi Tom. APQ does not do that, and I am not sure I like the idea of a point system. One of my colleagues recently said, in a different context, that "I don't work for points," and I understand the sentiment. But I am sure that, more generally, it is a good idea for journals and for the profession in general to figure out ways to recognize and reward good referee work. It is amazing how much time and effort goes into writing good referee reports, and how little recognition there is for it.

John Greco

. . . in fact, the only current reward for good referee work is more referee work!


BJPS has now started a "referee of the year".


I don't know if it comes with any money, though.


This is great -- very helpful. But I'm curious about the skepticism about revise-and-resubmit, the most common verdict for me to return. I often find myself thinking both "I would not recommend publishing this paper" but that "I can imagine that the author could change my mind with significant revisions" and "I would definitely be willing to read this again." (In fact, I don't think I've ever had an initial reaction other than that combination.)

One possibility is that I'm just too stingy with "Accept." That's very believable. But often I think something like, "This paper does not sufficiently engage with the relevant literature" or "I would not say to colleagues working on this topic, 'Here's a paper that would be helpful to you'" or "It is hard to imagine further scholars taking this paper up for criticism or endorsement, beyond maybe showing up in a string citation of papers-on-a-topic." So I feel comfortable with my disinclination to accept.

But then should I 'reject'? Maybe. I will reject a paper if it does nothing other than make a point already extant in the literature, if it is particularly poorly argued, or some similarly dismal verdict. But maybe I'm too optimistic about the possibility of improvement?

And I wonder about the claim that r&r creates more work? Presumably the author will often just march off and submit somewhere else, so doesn't it just move the work? Maybe some authors will give up, so there's some effect.

Again, thanks for the helpful post, lots to think about!


Great post. Thanks for this!

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