another question about reviewing

there was an interesting discussion about reviewing for journals awhile back at crooked timber, but i don’t remember seeing any discussion about a related question which i, as a new reviewer, want answered. namely: what are the norms and rules about discussing an article i’m reviewing right now?

let’s imagine this as the best possible case: imagine i’ve just gotten an article to review, and its findings are so shatteringly important, its contributions to both practical and theoretical discussion for its subfield so substantive, its wider appeal so clear, that i want to immediately tell all my friends and research acquaintances about it. what are the rules here? let’s also add to this hypothetical case that i (the reviewer) have no idea who the author is. and yet, even if the article is loved as much by the other reviewers, it will likely be another year before it sees print.

am i allowed to describe the findings? to refer to them? to use them to shape my own future thought about my work (a sort of place-holder citation or something)? i imagine it’s pretty verboten to share the manuscript in any way. but what about a summary of it?

do the metrics change if i’m reviewing a terrible paper?

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One Comment on “another question about reviewing”

  1. jeremy Says:

    It’s completely verboten to share the ms itself. I have no idea if there is some rule about not talking about it, but if so it seems to me a pretty unreasonable expectation. Not being intellectually influenced by something you review would be an even more unreasonable expectation. I’ve asked an editor before to put me in touch with an author so that I could cite the work; the editor checked with the author that this was okay, and then gave me the author’s name. (Incidentally, despite my own positive review, the paper in question was rejected.)

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