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More on the editorial rewrite of the referee report

The reviewer that I mentioned in the last post has let me know that the editor is blaming the manuscript submission system:

I wrote to the editor, asking for an explanation. I copied them my original review downloaded from the journal’s portal, and the review they sent authors, with highlighting to show the differences.

The editor replied…that it must have been a technical error, that the manuscript central system does that sometimes. I don’t buy it. This was done by a person not a program. It’s grammatically perfect. Deliberate. All aimed at making the review negative. (Also I notice that the editor used a phrase in his reply to me that has also been added to the text of the review.)

It looks to me like the editor has gamed the system for his own reasons. I advised the author to contact the president of the professional body whose journal this is the official organ of, but only if it doesn’t affect her career prospects. Whistleblowers don’t get fair treatment in my experience.


  1. Bob O'H Bob O'H

    If the society or the journal is a member of a professional body for publishers (e.g. ALPSP) they could be contacted. The Scholarly Kitchen might be worth contacting for advice too.

    I’m struggling to see how this is anything other than utterly unethical. I also doubt this is the first time it’s happened, so Something Needs to be Done.

  2. Physicalist Physicalist


  3. Matthew Slater Matthew Slater

    An utterly bizarre response by the editor. It’s like claiming that a doctored photo must have been corrupted when it was saved. (Perhaps when our computers reach StarTrek-level competence we’ll have to worry about such technical glitches. . . .)

  4. Leviathan Leviathan

    Editor’s response is complete BS, and lame BS at that. S/He has no integrity and no business being an editor. Author & Reviewer should pursue every avenue to expose and remedy the misconduct.

  5. Clem Clem

    Yeah. Another problem with representational management. Politics, copyright, patenting, the stock exchanges of the world. All problematic due to the concentrating of power in the hands of a (relative) few. We don’t need them any more; we have the Web.

    PS: have you heard of this site; she’s one of five candidates for “Best Atheist Site”:

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