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The Golden Rule of Reviewing

Mark A. McPeek, Donald L. DeAngelis, Ruth G. Shaw, Allen J. Moore, Mark D. Rausher, Donald R. Strong, Aaron M. Ellison, Louise Barrett, Loren Rieseberg, Michael D. Breed, Jack Sullivan, Craig W. Osenberg, Marcel Holyoak and Mark A. Elgar
The American Naturalist
Vol. 173, No. 5 (May 2009), pp. E155-E158
DOI: 10.1086/598847
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Page Count: 4
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Abstract: A major bottleneck in the time required to publish a scientific or scholarly paper is the speed with which reviews by peers are returned to journals. Peer review is a reciprocal altruistic system in which each individual may perform every task—editors, reviewers, and authors—at different times. Journals have no way to coerce reviewers to return their critiques faster. To greatly shorten the time to publication, all actors in this altruistic network should abide by the Golden Rule of Reviewing: review for others as you would have others review for you. Say yes to reviewing whenever your duties and schedule allow; provide a thorough, fair, and constructive critique of the work; and do it at your first opportunity regardless of the deadline.