The way you say it

  • Published 2013 in Nature Methods


Wording criticism constructively is important before and after publication. curated from published, mostly small-scale papers— adding information to ENCODE, which profiled fewer transcription factors in hematopoietic cell lines. With this resource, the authors make their point that 'small science' , when efficiently collated, can provide resources on the scale of big science efforts. Civility in discourse is also essential before publication. We often receive strongly worded replies in the course of the peer review process. Receiving a rejection of one's own work can understandably trigger strong emotions. We are not saying that it is wrong to disagree with a reviewer's assessment or an editorial decision, but when doing so it is helpful to keep certain principles in mind. Authors who remain respectful in their disagreement will not alienate the reviewers as they would have done had they lashed out, alleging incompetence, willful delay of one's work or other conflicts of interest. Needless to say, such blanket statements have no place in any official communication with a reviewer but should be discussed, if at all, only with the editor and should be based on evidence rather than speculation. Reviewers do occasionally make factual errors, and it is important for authors to point these out, with concrete examples and without any judgment on the reviewer's general level of competence or character. In responding to referees' comments, savvy authors address each query by each reviewer rather than cherry picking the comments they deem relevant. They abstain from manipulative tactics, such as rephrasing a reviewer's comment in the attempt to transform it into a statement the author finds palatable. If authors do not think a point is pertinent to the work, they should give a scientific reason. In cases in which an author does not understand or disagrees with a particular criticism, it is best to say so respectfully and give one's interpretation of the results rather than merely claim that the reviewer is clueless. It must be said that reviewers also occasionally get carried away by their dislike of a certain paper and swap professional criticism for personal attacks on a scientist's integrity. If a reviewer is worried about issues other than the scientific aspects of the paper, the best place to bring these up is in the confidential comments to editors. This will give the editors a chance to seek further clarification and determine whether, and to what extent, the concerns should …

DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.2686

Cite this paper

@article{2013TheWY, title={The way you say it}, author={}, journal={Nature Methods}, year={2013}, volume={10}, pages={917-917} }