Should Editors count votes or adjucate?

Joe Felsenstein joe at
Thu Apr 20 14:25:25 EST 2000

In article <LLDL4.1499$nB3.925718 at>,
Donald Forsdyke <forsdyke at> wrote:
>So an Editor receives two unfavourable reviews and one favourable. He/she
>sends you the reviews and a rejection notice. You see major flaws in the
>negative reviews and send back a point-by-point reply. To make the case
>simple, we will say that the Editor writes back saying that since there are
>two negatives that's it. Most Editors adopt some sort of middle ground. Some
>send your reply back to the original reviewers who are relied upon to
>adjucate. When they return their judgements to the Editor, he/she again
>assumes the role of vote counter.
>    Do any Editors/Authors out there, have views on this topic?

A good editor will not count votes but will try to understand the
arguments.  Sometimes the paper is outside the editor's area of
competence so they have to rely on the revewiewers and come closer to
taking a vote.  But often even in that case they appeal to an additional
reviewer to evaluate the controversy for them.

When I have acted as a editor I have tried not to just count votes.  When
I have been through these controversies as an author I have often had the
good fortune to encounter editors who didn't just count votes.  I'm
surprised to see Forsdyke paint such a different picture.

Joe Felsenstein         joe at
 Dept. of Genetics, Univ. of Washington, Box 357360, Seattle, WA 98195-7360 USA

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