Should Editors count votes or adjucate?

Bob bbruner at
Thu Apr 20 21:49:42 EST 2000

On 20 Apr 2000 19:25:25 GMT, joe at
(Joe Felsenstein) wrote:

>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.

I would basically agree with that.

Consider the opposite case, 2 + and 1 -. But the one minus raises
serious problems. Clearly, the answer is no.

If an editor says s/he counts votes, either it is laziness, or a
euphemism. If the journal has excess submissions, it may be not worth
the trouble to resolve an ambiguous case.


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