Problems with Manuscript!

Michael L. Sullivan mlsulliv at
Mon Mar 5 10:23:40 EST 2001

I think you can pretty much proceed as you would had the reviewer's
identity not been disclosed to you.  Write your rebuttle letter to the
editor pointing out why the negative review is wrong or incompetent and ask
for a new reviewer (or perhaps e-mail or phone to ask whether this would be
possible if you outline in a letter your reasons for wanting a new
reviewer).  You made it sound to me like this (that the review was out of
line) was evident even without knowing who the reviewer was.  I am sort of
surprised the editor didn't seek out a third reviewer since the two reviews
sound at odds.

Then in the future, add this person to your list of reviewers you request
*not* to have when submitting a manuscript.  You and your coauthors should
decline review of this person's manuscripts in the future if you feel your
objectivity is compromised.

That's my 2 cents.


>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.

Michael L. Sullivan, Ph.D

U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center
1925 Linden Drive West
Madison WI, 53706

(608) 264-5144 Phone
(608) 264-5147 Fax


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