Bristle over brush-off

November 28, 1997

Apropos "John Smith's" efforts to break open the closed old-boy network in research fund application reviewing (THES, November 14) why not go the whole hog with "reform" and apply the same "modernised" process of quality review to the peer appraisal of submissions for publication.

In the same post as I received the good news of an "acceptance" from one source (eminently detailed in its feedback), I was "rejected" by another by a two-line brush-off from an editor whose secretary informed me: "She's off on sabbatical and has just gone through a rapid desk-clearing binge." I trust the fruits of her sabbatical labours will be afforded more professional consideration than mine were.

Other colleagues also have tales of perfunctory treatment at the hands of editors and reviewers and all nursed a sense that the academic peer review process left much to be desired. "John Smith" come out from under the bed. You have more support for a root and branch "overhaul" than you appear to believe.

William Keenan

Wollaton, Nottingham

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