Mar 182011

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.

Mar 232010

Sixteen months ago, we started the Political Science Peer-Review Survey. This week, the input form was shut down. That is about three quarters of a year later than expected, but then again, I underestimated the fallout of my move back to Germany. Moreover, until a few weeks ago there was still a tiny trickle of replies coming in. So far, we have found few major problems with the data. The RA has spotted two instances where the respondent somehow managed to save the data at various stages of the interview, thereby inflating the number of respondents. Moreover, it’s amazing how many political scientists read ‘percent’ and give absolute numbers 😉

Right now, the RA is enjoying is well-deserved holiday. He’ll be back in four weeks time, and we hope to have a data set ready for distribution by June.

Nov 272008

If you edit, review or author manuscripts for political science journals, the peer-review process is at the centre of your professional life. Unfortunately, for most of us the process is largely a black box. While everyone has heard (or lived through) tales from the trenches, there is very little hard evidence on how the process actually works. This is why a number of colleagues and I started the peer-review survey project that aims at collecting information on the experience of authors, reviewers and editors of political science journals.

If you are an active political scientist, this survey is for you: we need your expertise, and your input is greatly appreciated. Filling in the form is fun and will typically take less than ten minutes of your time. It is also a great way to release some steam 🙂
Ready? Then proceed to the Political Science Peer-Review Survey.

We also put some (very) preliminary results of the political science peer-review survey online and will release further findings and eventually the data set in the future.

If you think this is worthwhile (and who wouldn’t?), please spread the word. To make this easier, we have created short URL for the survey ( and the results ( that you can forward to your colleagues. Thanks again for your support. It is greatly appreciated.

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