July 10, 2012

Do you save the manuscript reviews you’ve written?

I’ve never purged that directory.

I have no idea why not.

No Responses Yet to “Reviews”

  1. Spiny Norman Says:

    I save them because they save me time when a journal sends me a manuscript that I’ve already reviewed for another journal.


  2. drugmonkey Says:

    Sure but how long do you keep it?


  3. Spiny Norman Says:

    I’m not really in the habit of deleting old files. That requires more curatorial effort than leaving the stuff on the drive. I do delete things I’m duty-bound to delete, like grants.


  4. Alex Says:

    Inertia is a powerful force. But, yeah, I guess there’s no reason to hang on to old reviews for very long, just long enough of a grace period for the issue that Spiny Norman mentioned.

    What we really need is for more journals to have some option in their online system that you can click on to get a .pdf saying “Alex reviewed X papers for Journal of Bunny Hopping between August 2011 and August 2012”, since that sort of documentation often goes into institutional performance reviews. It’s easier than hunting around for a bunch of acknowledgment emails and finding the anonymized versions. Some journals do that, but not enough.


  5. Namnezia Says:

    I never delete them, they’re just in a big folder.

    But on another note – I’ve never put these things in performance reviews, I just mention in my CV under “service” that I’ve reviewed articles for Journals x,y and z. But no accounting of how many papers. I don’t really think it “counts” for much, promotion-wise. Does anyone else do this?


  6. Alex Says:

    My dean once said that he likes to see it, so I put it in. And if I put something in, I’d better document it.


  7. I just type my reviewers directly into the fucken Web form. Most of the journals I regularly agree to review for keep all your old reviews–and those of the other reviewers–available forever on their editorial management Web sites.

    As far as counting reviews, no I never counted them or listed the counts on my CV; I just list the names of the journals.


  8. And if I put something in, I’d better document it.

    Wait! Wut? You document shitte like invited seminars and conference talks with some kind of evidence that you actually were invited?? You actually print out e-mails from journal editors asking you to review papers?? And you give this shitte to your chair or dean when she asks for your CV?


  9. Pat Says:

    I am keeping all my reviews (frankly, I don’t remember why). When I started to review manuscripts (during the first year of PhD studies if I remember well…), maybe I thought that it could serve me later ?? Since that time, I “save as” my reviews automatically…


  10. Alex Says:

    You actually print out e-mails from journal editors asking you to review papers??

    I would never print out the email saying “Dear Dr. Alex, please review the manuscript by Smith et. al.” because that is a confidential communication indicating that Smith et. al. wrote a paper on topic X and I reviewed it. I print the “Thank you for reviewing for our journal” email with confidential information removed.

    And you give this shitte to your chair or dean when she asks for your CV?

    When they ask for a CV I give a CV. When they ask for a report with documentation I give a report with documentation.

    Untenured faculty have to submit a thick binder every year with documentation of Every. Freaking. Thing. And yes, we were told that that includes documentation of reviews. Thank God I just got tenure.


  11. Goddamn! What a motherfucken pain in the fucken asse. No one every asked me for any of thatte fucken shitte at my institution. For my various stages of promotion and tenure, all I was every asked for was my motherfucken CV (in a special, detailed format), but no supporting documentation of any kind whatsoever.


  12. GMP Says:

    I save them all, have an email folder “Papers to Review” with “Pending” and “Completed” as subfolders in my mail client. Whenever I accept a review solicitation I put it in “Pending” so it doesn’t get lost in the avalanche of email I receive, then move all emails related to that paper to “Completed” once I’m done. Usually, journals I review for will email you your review once you submit, that goes into “Completed” as well. I don’t keep the reviews forever, but for 2-3 years maybe, or until I feel the urge to clean up. It’s useful to keep track of how often I review and for which journals, in an effort to curb my tendency to over-serve.

    Re Alex’s comment above: no one ever asked me for proof of review requests or invitations to give talks. It really sucks that you must deal with all that paperwork…


  13. drugmonkey Says:

    You people are *supposed * to be telling me what are you, nuts? Delete that crap!


  14. Virgil Says:

    What are you, nuts? Delete that crap.

    I saved a few back when i was a postdoc, but now they’re all typed directly into the web forms and saved there on the journal site for eternity.

    I do however make a habit of keeping the PDFs of the actual manuscripts. You’d be amazed what can change between versions or between aceptance/publication, which goes un-noticed by the editors and reciewers!


  15. I save my reviews. They take up very little hard drive space and on more than a few occasions I have gotten the same paper to review from a second journal after I reject it the first time.

    My institution also requests documentation for every single thing I do. I even save emails acknowledging that I took minutes at faculty meetings or I took a visitor out to lunch. I think this ridiculousness mostly stems from our administration’s insane focus on improving rankings. They want to see that we are working absolutely as hard as we can because they don’t trust the faculty.


  16. drugmonkey Says:


    So what? Isn’t it the point that you *revise* the manuscript before resubmitting?


  17. anon Says:

    I tend to save the reviews I write. I think it’s because I usually include information that is helpful to the authors, and occasionally helpful to me in another context. It’s been useful to look back at that stuff, and to have it available when I need it.


  18. DrugMonkey Says:

    Oh, next question then!

    Who looks back at the reviews they’ve written…and for what purpose?

    I think the only the only time I ever have is when something I’ve reviewed gets in somewhere else, with me not having seen I again. So when I see it in the literature I might check on whether anything I said changed the paper.


  19. proflikesubstance Says:

    The only time I ever look back at a review is if A) I am asked to review the same manuscript by another journal, B) Asked to re-review by the same journal, or C) I see the print version of the manuscript and wonder if I missed that glaring hole or mentioned it and the editor and authors ignored that point.

    I do have them on my computer, however. Mostly so I can remember which journals I reviewed for this year when doing my annual review and because they don’t take up enough space for me to bother tossing them.


  20. bsci Says:

    Like others here, I do save my reviews locally & there’s no real reason to delete. Once in a while, they come in handy as notes reminding me about the details of an article.

    There’s also been a few times where felt like I met someone before & couldn’t remember the context. I search my emails/computer & the review pops up to remind me I reviewed a paper of that person. Not a reason to keep the reviews, but it has been useful.


  21. Alex Says:

    I save my reviews locally because I rarely do the entire review in one sitting. Usually I go through the paper and type things into a document as I notice them (sometimes these things are positive, I should note). Then I let it sit a day or two, come back to it, clean it up into something coherent for the editor and author to follow, and paste it into the web form.


  22. Busy Says:

    Who looks back at the reviews they’ve written…and for what purpose?

    I’ve rarely do this, but occassionally I reject the paper only to have to read it again when submitted to a new journal. Having access to the old report is always useful. This happens rarely, but since I save all the reports in a special directory, there really is no cost in having them there.


  23. pyrope Says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever looked back at reviews…so I guess there’s really no point in keeping them…certainly not the ones that are years old. Another good question would be, why am I keeping six early iterations of a paper published in 2006?


  24. Bashir Says:

    I have saved the half dozen or so I’ve written. I thought it was just me, saving things is my default.


  25. Virgil Says:

    I was referring specifically to instances where the authors will sneak something in on the 3rd revision, without referring it to the reviewers (not mentioning it in the rebuttal statement). In one case they added another author, who turned out to be someone who had reviewed it earlier on – bit of a conflict n’est ce pas!


  26. drugmonkey Says:

    Wow. I gotta try that stuff. I’m such a naïf!


  27. Alex Says:

    OK, guys, here’s a question: Say you’re at a PUI. Say that the PUI has funding for some program to prepare disadvantaged/underrepresented students for PhD programs. This program is (circle all that apply)

    a) Addressing an important problem facing both the profession and our society
    b) Providing valuable mentorship and training for the students
    c) Luring the least-advantaged into a pyramid scheme
    d) Other

    I’m conflicted. I understand the need. And I will support anybody who goes to graduate school with eyes wide open, taking informed risks. But I also feel, um, weird about anything where the metric for success is when the first in the family to go to college defers a good job for several years of low wages. I feel even weirder at the thought of us older, tenured, not-underrepresented folks benefiting from this, you know?

    It’s a hell of a dilemma. I can tell myself that there’s something important about this, but I also see the downside.


  28. Alex Says:

    Oops, wrong thread.


  29. drugmonkey Says:

    E) conflicted


  30. qaz Says:

    DM – I save my reviews because I sometimes need them to remind myself when journal X asks me to review paper Y and it looks familiar that paper Y looks familiar because I rejected it from journal Z last year!

    (and if I do end up reviewing it for journal X, I can see if they fixed the problems I had when they submitted it to journal Z)


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