12 Unimpressed Comments From Peer Reviewers

261 12 Unimpressed Comments From Peer Reviewers
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Scratch that…and that as well… We all know that if a scientist wants to have their work published in a journal, it must first go through a peer review process. While sometimes that process is ridiculed for lacking rigor, other times reviewers are chock-full of criticism and humor. Kelly Oakes over at Buzzfeed recently published an article on some of the most hilarious peer-review comments they could find - and as great as they were, we thought we could find a few more.

At the Wiley Online Library, their Journal of Environmental Microbiology includes a yearly list of funny and odd quotes from their reviewers. As they state in the preface, “Our referees, the Editorial Board Members and ad hoc reviewers, are busy, serious individuals who give selflessly of their precious time to improve manuscripts submitted to Environmental Microbiology. But, once in a while, their humor (or admiration) gets the better of them.” 


Below we have compiled some of the funny, odd, and downright harsh quotes their reviewers have made over the years.

“Done! Difficult task, I don’t wish to think about constipation and faecal flora during my holidays! But, once a referee, always and anywhere a referee.”  Referee quote (2010)

“Feel like banging my head against a brick wall with this one.”  Referee quote (2005)

“Use of the term remarkably borders on dramatization.”   Referee quote (2007)


Reject – More holes than my grandad’s string vest!   Referee quote (2010)

“This paper is the very expression of what happens when one tries to chop up one piece of work into as many publications as possible.”   Referee quote (2005)

“Season’s Greetings! I apologize for my slow response but a roast goose prevented me from answering emails for a few days.”  Referee quote (2010)

“Although it seems like they have conceded to the referee’s comments, in some ways the paper is less clear than the previous version.”  Referee quote (2007)


“The manuscript is written like a 19th century report on natural sciences.”   Referee quote (2007)

“My heart sinks when I have to review papers from this group as I know my response is most likely going to be as long as the paper.”  Referee quote (2007)

“I would encourage re-submission of a shorter version, deleted of ecological fantasies.”  Referee quotes (2005)

“An interesting contribution, but they sweep the high numbers they got under the carpet.”  Referee quote (2007)


“Is there a chance you could send me any good papers, at least once in a while?”  Referee quote (2006)


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