I wrote a page of summaries of my collaborations with the glitterati of the evolutionary biology world, but it turned out to be extremely dull, and the 'rogue's gallery' approach has been dealt a blow by the university lawyer, so instead:
On a vaguely related note: It's a funny old business anonymous
peer review, but at least we can all enjoy a laugh at some (100% genuine) excerpts:
Referees' comments on my work
'The manuscript reads as though it were written in a couple of days.'
'The manuscript is not well written and is extremely sloppy... the introduction and discussion need to be scrapped and re-written' '(referee 2: This is a short, clear paper)'
'The analysis of the data is disturbing to say the least.'
'The figures presented are absolutely useless in their current form.'
'This manuscript reads like an undergraduate report...'
'It was most interesting reviewing it; greatly stirred
up my compassion for wandering ecologists, who just have never been trained
how to do it right'
'It must have taken the authors considerable courage to venture into an area which is clearly not their own...'
'I sincerely hope that (journal X) will not stoop to publishing this manuscript. Journals such as Evolutionary Ecology and American Naturalist already exist for the purposes of publishing this sort of soft science...'
Referees' comments on other people's work
These are bona fide referee's comments made to well known and respected evolutionary biologists - read 'em and weep:
Final sentence of report: 'I doubt that the manuscript can be saved...'
'I am really puzzled why so many people (and I presume all the authors have read the ms) consider these results worth publishing...'
'Frankly, the whole paper reminds me of commercials urging you "to save as much as $5 by paying as low as $195" for something useless...'
'Thank you for your [submission]. I regret, however, that although it was fun to read, we cannot offer to publish it.'
'This manuscript must be rejected. It is based on speculation arising from weak or non-existent theoretical foundations'
'At the present stage, the authors are not authorized to make any conclusion or statement'
'Do the authors believe or have proofs that animals, in this case, insects, have a psyche?'
'These and many other gross errors in this manuscript could have been circumvented by a handful of respectful questions sent to [the name of the reviewer] early in its writing. Instead, the authors have wasted their time with a simulation that says a great deal about bad morphometric methods, but nothing whatever about how to think about these issues'
'I could do this experiment in my spare time...it's simple'
'a scan of the references shows that about two thirds of the papers cited are authored by [the author] and/or [the author’s] collaborators. This leads to some hilarity, but more of that later'
'All told, the quick and dirty experiments, the neglectful consideration of the observed biology, the failure to address the counterintuitive results, and these kind of statistics, leave me with a sense of...'
'The document provided by the authors is not a scientific manuscript'
'Before considering wild and epic evolutionary theory .... it might be nice that the authors take into account information contained in three recent papers ... before a resubmission of the manuscript in any Scientific Journal'
'The author should delete every second or third word so as not to annoy the reader'
'There may be a good story here, I just can't find it'
'Besides the flaws in design and analysis and ignoring relevant references that would either question the results or the novelty of some results, the manuscript is excellently written. I am impressed by the authors' ability to sell poor science'
'This is expected to be a research article that presents scientific findings, not science fiction'
'Starting from Fig. 7 discussion is a wishful thinking that nothing to do with science' (sic)
And finally, a pleasant one (not of my work, I hasten to add):
'The reviewers and the Associate Editor have recommended publication and -- bugger me -- it seems your paper is close to perfect. Although referee 1 had some hallucinations about missing words (but failed to say where), referee 2 rose to the challenge and has managed to find a few minor flaws'
These are comments sent to me, not those I come across whilst acting as an editor. If you have any similarly trenchant [sic] comments please e-mail them to me and I'll put them up on this site.