Monday, December 22, 2008

I am the problem with the peer review process.

A short time back as I was robotically deleting all the junk mail from my inbox, my finger paused at an interesting looking message. It was addressed to my work account, and the subject was simply "Dr. Grumpy PhD" (you know how much I love when people call me that!), and it came from International Journal of...

Huh. What's this? I opened the email and found that I was being asked to review a manuscript. Me! Asked to review a manuscript! And not by my PI who didn't have time to do his own reviews himself!

I looked at the title; I immediately recognized that I had been asked based on my most recent paper. Flattered (someone must have actually read my paper!), I replied yes! Of course I can have it done by Dec. 25th! And then, like all good scientists who get asked to do this sort of thing routinely, I forgot about it. Until last night.

First thing when I got to work this morning, which was actually after noon due to snow delays and the need to go to the car wash to get rid of the snow packing my undercarriage and then that one last stop to buy the last Christmas present of 2008 (whoohoo, I'm done!)(breathe...) I scrolled through my inbox until I found the email, opened the document, and started reading.

A little later I sat back in my chair and though "Holy shit, what the hell am I doing?" It turns out that this paper is far more genetic then molecular; and my paper was published a year ago and I have since moved on to bigger and better things (I hope), so I had to dust out the cobwebs and get the wheels turning and, you know, think about this stuff again. Agh. The thing is, something about this paper is really bothering me, I feel that something is just not right, but I can't figure out what. If I could just remember what it is I am forgetting... I could ask my PI and some other MDs I know and they would give me the background info I need in a heartbeat; but it is two days before the holiday break and my lab is deserted, I haven't seen my boss in a week, and everyone is trying to finish all their own work so they can go home and have that eggnog.

Sigh. I got myself into this. I can do it. I just have to put my own eggnog back into the fridge for the night. Meantime, anyone with good advice or links to old posts about how to compose a good review... please please please hit the comment button below and clue me in.


Eppendork said...

More genetic than molecular? How so? Printing out then big red marks and then put your comments into the word doco always works for me.


PhizzleDizzle said...

Be late with the review...Those deadlines seems fairly soft to me, the worse crime is turning in review you are not satisfied with...the whole system is based on peer review so I'm inclined to try to make sure you have done the review to your satisfaction.

Good luck and happy new year!