Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Fake Review Contest Entries #1-4

The first entries in the reviewing writing-fest are fascinating because they are all apparently based on real reviews. In some cases, I think only a few identifying details have been changed. Perhaps there is no need to have a creative writing exercise to craft a fake review introduction; the real ones are strange enough to provide plenty of fodder.

There will likely be a vote on the entries at some point, so I am numbering the entries and adding an author pseudonym for each (in most cases at the request of the author):

1. kamikaze

Taking into account that this paper forms the basis of Ms HopefulAuthor's PhD thesis, I would have loved to love this paper. But I don't. I hate it so much I don't even want to read it properly. Therefore, I will reject it without any other argument than the fact that if this paper had been better, I would have read it and loved it. Ms HopefulAuthor had better hope I'm not on her committee.

2. mixedmetaphor

This paper is like a car-bomb headed for a building or a wall or something; it is difficult to be sure what or where it is going. Will it explode or will it be a dud? Neither has a good outcome, nor does this paper. It is filled with dangerous ideas crammed into a package with a mundane exterior.

3. JT

I have completed my review of the manuscript by XYZ et al.  This manuscript must be rejected on grounds of plagiarism - significant sections of the text were copied verbatim from a previously-published manuscript [ABC et al.].  I attached a PDF of ABC et al.'s paper and the XYZ et al. manuscript marked to indicate the plagiarized text (you will note that all but the first two paragraphs were copied).  I am very disappointed that the authors chose to represent another group's work as their own.

4. GR

Proposal Title:  Linear and Nonlinear Methods to solve XXX

Reviewer 3 (it's always reviewer 3):

"Why is the approach limited to linear methods, and the PI does not propose nonlinear methods?"


Anonymous said...

A friend of mine had a pretty awesome sentence in a review. I probably shouldn't enter other peoples' reviews in the contest, and it's not an introduction, but maybe just a three-word excerpt: "new Dark Ages". (I wonder if the review author is reading this...)

Anonymous said...

Am I missing something about #3? I don't understand what's strange about it? What be a non-strange response to plagiarism? Sorry if I'm missing something obvious...

Anonymous said...

#4 is my contender this far! We have all received "that review"....
Mark P

Anonymous said...

I lol'd at the last one. I had a similar experience, went something like this:

Title: A comparison of X and Y.

Review: Great paper, but why didn't you compare X and Y??

They even gave us a passing review, but I didn't really know how to reply in the reviewer comments other than just "please see p. X for a discussion of this topic."

Anonymous said...

I have heard #4 in so many contexts...


I have done my very best to remain patient and keep any irritation out of my voice (whether actual speaking voice in a meeting or 'voice' in responding to this question in an e-mail that is, of course, cc'd to absolutely everyone on the project) when correcting the person.

Anonymous said...

I'm not capable of writing a fake review in the fractured English I once received that was so incomprehensible that we couldn't figure out what the reviewer was saying and how we should reply to it. This was for a paper which the editor apparently had to send to 7 reviewers to get 3 responses.

Anonymous said...

I originally shared the response to #4 (it's always reviewer 3), but then I looked at the title of the proposal "Linear and Non-linear methods" - as a reviewer I would have asked where the non-linear methods were or suggested they change the title.