What NOT to do when writing a review

Current event make me want to put out a short, incomplete list of a few things you should never do as a reviewer:

  • do not take text out of context
  • do not paraphrase so that the meaning changes
  • do not use strawmen
  • do not ask the author to write a different paper
  • do not make up rules on what is “publishable” and what not
  • do not try to only find fault in the paper
  • do not ignore hypotheses in a paper just because you dislike them.

And here is what you should do:

  • always re-check that what you wrote about the paper saying is actually what the paper says
  • try to find if the paper has merit
  • if you disagree with a point, give reasons and sources.

I guess that covers about 90% of reviewing etiquette.


About Heinrich Mallison

I'm a dinosaur biomech guy
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2 Responses to What NOT to do when writing a review

  1. Herman Diaz says:

    I assume more-or-less the same things go for reviews of other things (in my case, books)? In any case, it’s very handy to have, so many thanks for that. I always do the “should do” things &, AFAIK, never do the “should never do” things. IIRC, you’ve read at least some of my reviews, so you know what I mean.

  2. Herman Diaz says:

    BTW, I thought it quite coincidental that the guy mentioned in your link has almost the same name as you (Heinrich Ma- with -nn instead of -llison). 😉

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