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The Editor who did not bark

afc at gnv.ifas.ufl.edu afc at gnv.ifas.ufl.edu
Fri May 28 09:06:46 EST 1993

In article <robison1.738503286 at husc.harvard.edu>, robison1 at husc10.harvard.edu (Keith Robison) writes:
> One area where blatant duplication does sometimes show up
> is in reviews.  Many authors will write essentially the
> same review over and over and over again.  While this
> is partly understandable (after all, it is review), I
> have read some reviews which are essentially identical (usually
> Figures and all).   Even more annoying, I have sometimes not
> realized this until a significant time post xeroxo.
> The root problem in this case IMHO is authors simply publishing
> reviews of their field more frequently than the field deserves,
> combined with the laziness of not at least customizing the
> review for the particular journal (i.e. a review in AR of Genetics
> should have a slightly different emphasis than on in AR of Biochemistry).
> Keith Robison
> Harvard University
> Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology
> Department of Genetics / HHMI
> robison at biosun.harvard.edu 

This is not always the fault of the authors, sometimes it is the fault of the
editor.  If an editor reads a good review on a hot subject, he may call up
the authors and ask for an update for his latest volume.  Under these
circumstances, it is not surprising that there are lots of redundant reviews.

An extreme case of this happened to me.  I wrote a review that was published
in a book on biotechnology.  A few years later the editor prepared another
book on insect control, where he included my review again.  I was never even
contacted (although my coauthors may have been) and the two articles are 
word-for-word identical.  Anyone who goes to the trouble of copying both of
those articles is going to be *really* upset.

Andrew Cockburn

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