Referee Reports

I found an interesting presentation by Sami Mitra, associate editor of Physical Review Letters, about the editorial office and the editorial process at PRL. Among some interesting figures about the journal and also about the procedure of selecting potential referees, I enjoyed very much the quotes from some of the referee communications with the editorial office. Here they are:

I cannot review this paper as it is wrong and I did it first.

Did he/she make it first and wrong too?

This paper should be rejected for the following reasons > > 1. No one cares about this anymore 2. Anyone who could referee it is probably dead 3. All who read it will wish they were

Kind of rude, isn’t it? Anyway I think he made his point.

I apologize for the delay in reviewing this paper. I inherited a 127 student electrical and computer engineering course plus lab this January because the professor assigned to teach it unexpected passed away. My department head attends every lecture to make sure I do a good job.

My god! Poor guy, what a department!!

I beg your pardon. My office was painted and repaired a couple of weeks ago and that involved moving out more or less entirely. I have no idea where this manuscript is, or if I received it. For what it is worth, the title does sound slightly familiar.

Did they buy this excuse? It’s kind of childish. At least my excuses are better. Now I know.

Don’t miss also the authors’ communications with the editor in Sami’s talk. Priceless.



Professor at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and MIT Medialab. Working on Complex Systems, Social Networks and Urban Science.