One particularly annoying aspect of doing reviews for learned journals is that assignments tend to arrive in clusters. Six months ago, I found myself in a bit of a pickle, with loads and loads of requests arriving within a short time. And just five weeks ago, another volley of invitations to review hit my mailbox within the space of hours, in one instance within minutes, which looked suspiciously like a flaw in the matrix. As these systems are fully computerised, automated and increasingly urgent reminders are now clustering in my mailbox, too.
This morning, I came around to read the first two of them, only to realise that I had already read and rejected them during the last campaign, when they had been submitted to other journals. As I would have done in their stead, the authors had addressed some minor points but left the basic structure as it was then, meaning that I could basically cut and past my old reviews of them. Something like this has happened to me in the past, but with a single manuscript and a two-year hiatus between those incarnations I reviewed. Getting this twice in a single morning is a little creepy. Now I’m looking forward to my afternoon reading.