Problems with Manuscript!

Nick Theodorakis nicholas_theodorakis at urmc.rochester.ed
Mon Mar 5 15:16:57 EST 2001

In <9800ku$uls$1 at>, Martin Offterdinger wrote:
>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 think you need to have a frank talk with the editor. There are times when the
reviewer is unreasonable, and if you can convince the editor that the reviewer's
demands are unreasonable, he or she can either go with the recommendations of
the other reviers or get someone else to review it (hopefully in a timely

Did the editor say that you have have to do any of the things that the first
reviewer asked for?


Nick Theodorakis
nicholas_theodorakis at

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