Tough decision that merits a cry for help

January 10, 2008

I wonder if your readers can help me with an ethical dilemma? I have been asked to referee an article that cites ten of my papers, but that (in my professional opinion) does not merit publication.

In view of the promised use of metrics in determining the future funding of my department, should I (a) put my institution first and accept the paper, (b) put my subject first and reject it, or (c) claim a conflict of interest and decline to act as referee?

Robert A. Wilson,
Professor of pure mathematics,
Queen Mary, University of London

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