Peer Reviewers are People Too…and Generous Scholars as Well
Given the stiff competition for publication space in top-tier journals, it is little wonder that many academic and scientific authors tend to think of the peer review process as tantamount to running the gauntlet. Whether long or short, a manuscript prepared for submission to a scholarly publisher represents an enormous investment – in time, money and intellectual effort, to be sure, and in most cases in other ways as well, such as the sacrifices made in other aspects of a researcher’s life. Confidence is a necessary requisite to submitting writing for publication, and that same confidence whispers the sounds of success in the ear of an author amidst the doubts of awaiting a reply. Less than ideal news from an acquisitions editor therefore tends to be extremely unwelcome, and the blow delivered by such news generally comes with the spectre of still more investment and sacrifice, while leaving a dent in that confidence so necessary to success.
The scenario I have described is unlikely to inspire a positive attitude toward the peer reviewers who find problems in a manuscript, and all the more when those problems prevent publication. It is therefore essential to stand back and view the situation from as objective a perspective as possible before replying to the editor. One viewpoint that should certainly be considered is that of the peer reviewers who evaluated your manuscript. In most cases the review process will be blind, so you will not know the identity of the reviewers, but there can be telltale signs in the comments you receive. Language and focus can, for example, reveal something about the specialisation and theoretical background of a reviewer. Using such clues to learn about your critic can help you understand why he or she may have responded in the ways you are encountering, and such understanding can help you devise remedies that will address the concerns of both the reviewer and the editor.
Increase Your Chances of Getting Published
Equally important, however, is remembering that the peer reviewers assessing your writing are people and scholars just as you and your colleagues are. Indeed, they are your colleagues, and they too struggle with excessive demands on their time. In the grand majority of cases, peer reviewers do not need to be reading and commenting on your writing at all. They do it for a variety of reasons, including keeping abreast of recent scholarship in their areas of specialisation and contributing to the sound advancement of knowledge by working to uphold academic and scientific standards. Yes, there are benefits of various kinds for them, but their work also benefits you as a reader and researcher and your discipline as a whole. For the most part, peer reviewers are experts who perform an invaluable service for scholarly publication, and their generosity in sacrificing their time and sharing their knowledge and experience to help you improve your research and writing should be recognised as you reply to the editor and work at revising your manuscript for resubmission.
Being no more than human, however, peer reviewers are certainly as prone to inappropriate responses as a scholarly author might be when he or she first reads their unwelcome criticism. It would be folly to deny that some reviewers judge manuscripts harshly for selfish and even unethical reasons – due to personal grudges, for instance, or a desire to dominate the field in which you are attempting to plant your research. While it is essential to be aware that such practices exist and to possess an honest assessment of your own work so that you can judge when your scholarship is not the real issue, it is always wise to begin by assuming an honest intent in the peer reviewers who evaluate your work, even if you may never entirely agree with their perspectives. Such an assumption can enable you to reread and reassess your own writing in a way that a suspicion of an insincere intention in your reviewers never can – a way that leads to true improvements and thus better scholarship. Remember that you, like your peer reviewers, want the plants in your field to remain strong and productive, and authors and reviewers must work together despite their differences to achieve that goal.
Why Our Editing and Proofreading Services?
At Proof-Reading-Service.com we pride ourselves on our large and extremely dedicated team of academic and scientific professionals. Our proofreaders and editors are highly educated native speakers of English and their areas of specialisation range so widely that we are able to help our clients improve and perfect all kinds of research manuscripts for successful publication. Many members of our team work predominantly on articles intended for publication in scholarly journals, ensuring that formatting and references conform to author guidelines with precision and correcting grammar, punctuation, spelling and simple typing errors so that our customers are able to report their research in the clear and accurate ways required to impress acquisitions editors and earn publication.
Our editing services for authors of scientific papers and books are especially popular, but we have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit books in every scholarly discipline as well as beyond them, and some of our carefully trained proofreaders and editors work exclusively on helping students improve the formatting and language of their theses and dissertations. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation or publication, polishing a professional report to share with your colleagues, or tackling the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of academic or scientific document, a qualified member of our expert team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work. Our translation services for scientific and academic documents have also proven immensely helpful for many of our international clients.