Problems with Manuscript!

Martin Offterdinger martin.offterdinger at
Mon Mar 5 07:30:46 EST 2001

Hi everyone,
This time I have a quite unusual problem with a manuscript.
We submitted it and received reviews from the editorial office.
The editorial office undelibaretly uncovered the identitiy of the first
If the review would have been somewhat reasonable this would not be such a
big problem, we could just do the experiments and ignore the identity and
everyone would be quite happy.
This is not the case, the reviewer who is now known to us wanted to have
several (!) impossible experiments!(similar to "go to the spacelab and check
the influence of reduced gravity on your cells...." just a llittle bit
overdone!). The review of the second unknown reviewer was quite positive

The questions is of course how to react scientifically and moralically
correct to this situation.
We are considering to write a letter to the editor explain their mistake and
ask for a different reviewer.
But we could as well imagine to check out all the papers from this reviewer
in Medline and question his/her competence to review our manuscript.

Has anyone out there ever experienced such a situation and what is the best
way out?

Personally, I think that this is one of the most problematic things that can
ever happen in science. Because theoretically I or any of the coauthors
could at some point of time later in our career receive a manuscript from
the reviewer and of course in this case the temptation to somehow "take
revenge" could be quite high. On the other hand the rule to preserve the
reviewers anonymity also protects the authors, because noone can raise any
suspicion that he did influence the reviewer.

I am looking forward to a discussion.


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