I and a colleague recently had a paper published in Agricultural Systems that examined absorptive capacity and social capital affect the number of new practices adopted on Western Canadian farms. If you’re interested in reading such things, you can find it here.
Anyway, as I am now ‘known’ to the editors of AGSY, I’m now in their universe of reviewers. Recently I was asked to review a paper on a topic in my research area for AGSY. Come to find out, I am reviewer number three (gasp!).
First a little background on publishing. How publishing works is authors devote many hours writing/sharing/presenting/editing a paper, and then they submit it to a journal in their field. The editor(s) then look at the paper and give it an initial review where they decide to either send it to review or to politely (or not) reject it as not suitable for that publication. The reviewers are then given some time (2 months, 6 months, whatever) to conduct the peer review and offer comments on revisions to the authors and their opinion if the paper should be published to the editor. Typically there are two reviewers, but I have seen more (as editors may ask for multiple reviews in case of a slow reviewer but they all come back ‘on time’).
What really burns authors is when REVIEWER NUMBER THREE parachutes into the process after the first round of revisions. Now the authors have already made changes that R1 and R2 have asked for, but when the 2nd revision comes back, we have these comments from R3 coming out of left field. Reviewer Number Three is so much of a thing that they have actually made a Downfall parody on it. Watch it here.
I’m not sure what the editors are looking for…do they want a real review or a Reviewer Number Three review? So conflicted.