If I do all the reviews I've promised to do in the next month, I will have reviewed 21 manuscripts this year for 9 different journals, not counting manuscripts I've handled as an editor of one journal and associate editor of another; an addition that would easily double the total and more. Add in proposal reviews, tenure/promotion reviews, and such, and the number gets a bit alarming.
A number I don't keep track of but am now curious about is how many reviews I decline to do. I can think of at least 5-6 I've declined in recent months. Reasons I decline to review, in order of most common to least common reasons:
- I have 5-6 reviews I'm already working on and just can't commit to another one (unless it is an absolutely fascinating sounding paper or one I feel I should do for various reasons)
- I've already reviewed the manuscript for another journal, it was rejected, and I can't bear to read it again in its resubmitted form to another journal even if I feel that humanity will suffer if this paper is ever inflicted on the world.
- The manuscript isn't something I have any expertise in and can't imagine why I was asked to review it.
My husband reviews a similar number of manuscripts each year, but we both think we do a lot of reviews compared to many of our colleagues. This opinion is not based on any data though.
Since writing a few days ago that I wasn't going to agree to do any more reviews this year, I have agreed to two more.
6 months ago